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Posts posted by Felipe



    The two women walked back to the village and saw Shayla stirring a large pot of beans with a wooden spoon, she smiled at them as they approached.

    “That really smells good.” said the princess.

    “Would you like some? They are ready.” she replied.

    “I would love some.”

    “Please, help yourself.” she handed them both a bowl and two spoons. They scooped out the beans and began to eat hungrily.

    “This is wonderful, it has pieces of pork in it and the pork is tender.” Angelica said.

    “Pigs abound on this island, we are not far from the trade routes so spices are also available.” Shayla said as she slowly stirred the pot.

    “So, you and Batu have no children?” the princess asked.

    Shayla said nothing but continued to slowly stir the pot looking at it. Her eyes welled with tears and then they slid down her cheeks. She dropped the spoon into the pot and covered her eyes with her fingers and began to cry quietly.

    “What? What is wrong?” the princess asked. She stopped eating and both women looked at her.

    Shayla tried to compose herself for a moment and then managed to gasp out between her sobs. “They sold them. We had two but they sold them.” she began to cry uncontrollably.

    The princess was shocked. “They sold your babies? How could they do this? Even the poorest in our country are allowed to keep their children. How could they have sold your babies?”

    Shayla managed to quiet herself after a few minutes, the women waited. “We were their property, that did with us as they wished. Our children were just money to them.”

    The princess began to cry also “Is there no end to their cruelty? How could they do this? My father must find out about this, he will put a stop to it.”

    Shayla looked at her and took her hand. “Your father knows this, it is common practice. I told you that he gets a share from each slave child that is sold. The Viceroy keeps meticulous records which are forwarded to the King.”

    Victoria was outraged. “I knew that you said that but I never imagined that your and Batu’s own child were sold. How could my father be so cruel and uncaring? They were your babies, not animals.” She looked down at the ground and shook her head. She looked back up and said “I understand now why you hate the King so much, I am beginning to hate him also. I did not know any of this before. In the name of God, you are people, not animals! How could he condone this? That bastard, that no good bastard.”

    Shayla said nothing for a moment and then said “Your eyes are opening now. This has been going on for many years. Even this day some mother and father will have their child taken away and sold for money”

    “And my father will get his share, as if he does not have enough already.” she said and shook her head. If she had any doubt about staying here, now all doubt was gone. She would never return to such a cruel father.

    “Shayla, I cannot put a stop to this, but I can hurt my father very deeply and I intend to. I like Felipe, Andreas, Batu, you and Jean Pierre. I am not ever going home, I am going to stay here with Felipe if he will have me.” the princess said.

    “If he will have you? The man is crazy for you! I have seen the way that he looks at your cabin when you go in for the night. This is wonderful news! I am so glad that you are staying here, come here.” Shayla hugged her tight and they smiled at each other.

    “When did you decide this and have you told Felipe?” she asked.

    “I decided it earlier when Angelica and I were talking, but what you just told me makes me never want to return to such an evil empire. And no, I have not told Felipe yet.”

    “He will be overjoyed.” Shayla smiled at her.

    “You do not think he will be disappointed about not getting a huge ransom for me?” she asked.

    “Money means nothing to Felipe, he seeks revenge.” Shayla looked up for a moment and then said “This will be the ultimate revenge for Felipe if your father were to know about your decision to rebuke him and stay here.”

    “That is exactly what I told her.” Angelica said.

    “When will you tell him?” Shayla asked excitedly.

    She thought about it for a moment and then said “When he returns, please say nothing about this, he may still reject my desires for the ransom and I do not want to be embarrassed.”

    “I will say nothing, but you do not know Felipe like I do. Andreas has confided in me about how taken he is with you. Can you not see the way he acts when you are around? He will be overjoyed, as I am.” Shayla smiled at her. “Welcome home princess.”

    The women spent the rest of the day talking. Shayla taught them how to make bowls out of clay. “It is getting late in the evening, the men will be back soon.” Shayla told them.

    “I need to go and clean up a little.” the princess said.

    “For your man.” Angelica finished the sentence for her.

    They all smiled and she went back to her cabin. After a short while she came out wearing a fine dress with a low cut top showing the tops of her breasts. She had a flower behind one ear and a soft scent about her. She twirled around and asked “How do I look?”

    “You look just lovely, Felipe will be speechless.” Shayla said.

    “Do you really think that he will like it?” she asked.

    Both women just nodded their heads and smiled.

    Several hours later they heard someone call out from the shore. “They are back!” Shayla said. The women went down to the shore and watched the ship lower it’s anchors and soon the men dove in and swam to the shore. Felipe waded up and looked at her.

    “You look absolutely stunning.” he said and smiled.

    “Thank you, did you get paper and a quill? I cannot wait to write my father.” she said. She saw the look of disappointment on his face and struggled to say nothing else.

    “The men are going to push the raft out to bring the supplies in. I will see that you get it soon.” Felipe said.

    The thought of her so anxious to leave put a look of hurt on his face and that moved her heart so she held her hand out to him. She had never taken his hand before. “Come, we have food cooked.” and she turned and walked back to the pavilion with him.

    Felipe thought that she was so happy at the thought of going home and that was why she was being so friendly. He walked sadly with her but he was glad to be holding her hand. When they arrived at the pavilion she told him to sit and she ladled out a bowl of beans and began cooking him a tortilla as Shayla had taught her to do.

    “You are learning how to cook?” he asked surprised.

    “Oh yes, Shayla has taught us much. How did the trip fare? Did the cannons fetch a good price? She asked looking at him.

    “They brought a very good price, cannons such as those are very rare as only a really large ship could take them. Any cannon fetches a premium price but those were large cannons, the men will be well paid.”

    Men began bringing supplies into the pavilion. Bags of flour, dried beans, spices and bags of salt. Felipe got up and opened a small trunk. He took out a quill, an ink bottle and several sheaves of paper and handed them to the princess. She thanked him and hurried back to her hut. Felipe lost his appetite and put his bowl down. Andreas came and sat beside him.

    “She is writing the letter to her father now. It appears that she cannot wait to go home.” Felipe said.

    Andreas could tell that this troubled Felipe. He thought about how to make him feel better about this. He took a stick and began to scrawl a picture of a ship in the dirt and finally said “It is all that she has ever known. She has everything there, the world is at her feet. She is the heir to the throne, soon to be the Queen of the most powerful country on earth. Should she not want to leave?”

    “I know, I just hoped that she would not.” Felipe said wistfully.

    He got up and walked to the shoreline as he always did when he was troubled. He stared out at his ship and tried to take his mind off of it by planning his next raid, going over the details in his mind. A short time later she appeared with a letter folded in her hand.

    “I want you to read this.” she said.

    “I do not need to read it, you know what to say.” he said without looking at her.

    “No, you need to read this please, for me.” she said and held the letter out to him.

    He unfolded the letter and read.


    Our ship was attacked by pirates, Angelica and I were taken captive. We have been treated very well and are in good health. These are not ordinary men father, they are noble men who all hate you and for good reason. They know that you would pay a very large ransom for me but they do not seek wealth, only revenge for the wrongs that you and your men have perpetrated against the common man.

    I have learned much from them. I am now friends with those who were once slaves. I now know that you make money from their sorrow. They are people Father, just like you and I, not animals to be whipped, bought and sold. You condone this and I cannot forgive you for this.

    The man who leads these pirates was falsely accused of piracy when it was obvious that he was innocent. His father murdered by the Viceroy’s own men. His father was an honest man, yet they killed him just for the money. The Viceroy arrests men for false charges just so he can seize their land. He is becoming a very rich man by oppressing the honest people there. This is how your corrupt government operates in the new colonies.

    My man has sworn to avenge his father’s death. I understand his hatred of you and your men and I have come to respect and to love him. I do not intend to come home. I will stay here with him. I hope that he asks for my hand in marriage which I will gladly give. May God forgive you for your sins against humanity, I never shall.

    Your Daughter,


    Felipe looked into her eyes but could not speak, he had no words. She smiled at him and he smiled back at her. She embraced him and they kissed passionately. She held his head cradled it her arms against her neck while he hungrily kissed the smooth skin of her neck.

    She asked “ Can I stay with you? Will you have me rather than a ransom?”

    Felipe looked at her and was filled with happiness. “I always wanted you, not the ransom.”

    “Did you mean this?” he held up the letter.

    “Every word of it.” she said.

    “I mean the part about marrying me?”

    “Yes, if you ask me.”

    Felipe blurted out “Will you marry me?”

    She looked down her nose at him with a small smile. “Is that a proper proposal for a princess?”

    “Forgive me.” He removed his hat and knelt on one knee. “I love you, will you marry me?”

    “Yes, of course I will. I love you also.” she smiled.

    Felipe kissed her again and took her hand. They began to walk back to the village. Felipe thought for a moment and said “As it stands now, he does not know if you are alive or dead. Once you send that letter he will send all of his forces to seek you out.”

    “Are you worried?” She asked.

    “Me?” he laughed “I am already a wanted man, there is a high price on my head not only for piracy but also for murdering the guard and the man who killed my father. No, I live to insult the King and this is the greatest insult to him of all. Now that he will know who it was that has stolen his daughter away and why, that will make it even better.”

    “You are not afraid?” she said.

    “Have you ever known me to be afraid? Add that I said that he can go to hell.” he said.

    “As you wish.” she said and kissed him again.

    “We must tell everyone and celebrate, Andreas will be very pleased.” Felipe said.

    As they approached the pavilion holding hands, everyone stopped talking and looked at them. Felipe held her hand above his head and said “We are one!”

    The men cheered and the women rushed up to her and embraced her. They tugged her toward the fire and shouted a foreign word to the men. A drum beat started and they showed her the steps and how to move her hands. Slowly at first and then as she caught on more quickly. Angelica joined in and the women moved around the fire dancing to the lively beat.

    Batu nodded his head toward them and smiled. “A wedding dance.” he said.

    Andreas was overjoyed as was Jean Pierre. They gathered the lieutenants together and spoke as the women danced.

    “She has written her father a letter telling him of her choice to remain here with me. He will rally all of his forces in search of her. We will be hunted and I will blame no man if he chooses to leave my company.” Felipe said and looked at the men.

    Jean Pierre drew his sword and held it out in front of him with the tip high. “I am with you to the death.”

    “As am I” Batu said and he also drew his sword and touched Jean Pierre’s sword.

    Andreas, Ajamu and Tor also drew their swords ,Felipe did as well. They clicked their swords together and smiled. They slid their swords back into their scabbards and sat watching the women dance. Victoria held Felipe’s eye as she danced passed him smiling.

    “Well I guess this means that your pirating days are over.” Andreas said.

    “Like hell they are!” Felipe said and they all laughed.

    “We shall see, women have a way of changing men, you are yet to taste her charms.” Andreas said with a smile.

    The celebration lasted into the dusk and the night fell. Angelica was sitting with Jean Pierre excitedly talking to him while he smiled and stroked her face. Shayla was whispering to the princess and after a while she came and held her hand out. “Come Felipe, it is time for bed.”

    He took her hand and bid everyone a good night. Andreas smiled at Batu and nodded his head, Batu smiled and nodded back. “They are a good match.” Andreas said.

    The next morning Felipe saw Andreas setting up his chessboard in the pavilion. “Good morning Uncle.” he said with a smile.

    “Good morning Felipe, how was your night?” Andreas asked innocently.

    “It was a truly wonderful night.” he replied “But I have a question, how are we to deliver her letter to the King?”

    “I have been thinking about this since we brought her here. This letter is far too important to trust to just one of the crew and by now your likeness is posted all throughout the new colonies. The Viceroy resides in Veracruz, far from our former ranch. I rarely went into town when we lived there, you did. They know your face but not mine. I will deliver the letter.” he said.

    “No!” Felipe said “It is too dangerous, I do not want to loose you to the Viceroy and his men.”

    “Felipe, look at me, I am an old man, do you trust my judgment?” he asked.

    “I always have.” Felipe replied.

    “I have given this much thought. I took my oldest set of work clothes and they have been bleaching in the sun for weeks now. I will pose as a poor Criollo and claim that I was accosted by bandits on the road as I approached town. I will say that they threatened my family unless I delivered the message, that their spies are watching me. I can do this, I will deliver the letter to the Viceroy’s hand myself.”

    Felipe thought about it. Andreas went on “Jean Pierre cannot very well deliver the message, they are at war with France. Batu? Ajamu? Tor? They would not trust a letter this important to a slave and slaves cannot travel about freely. I am your best choice for this task.”

    Felipe looked at his uncle “Very well, but I want to sail with you to Veracruz. If you do not return, I will kill the Viceroy.”

    “You may accompany us but I ask that you do not come ashore, even if I do not return. I am an old man now and your whole life lays before you. You have a truly beautiful, wonderful woman who gave up all of the riches in the world for you. You must live and carry on the family name, you are the last son in our family.”

    Felipe thought about this and stared at the fire. “Let me do this Felipe and grant me one promise please. Promise me that you will not come ashore, I will deliver the letter and return. The Viceroy’s men killed my brother. You will have your revenge as soon as that letter is delivered to the king, let me now be a part of it.”

    Felipe looked at him for a moment and then nodded his head. “Very well Uncle, if anyone can pull this off, it is you.”

    Andreas smiled and packed his pipe. He lit it and gently puffed it to life blowing the smoke out in thin wisps from both sides of his mouth along the stem. He took a flask and poured out two brandies and handed one to Felipe. “The King is going to shit in his pants when he gets this letter. Imagine his own daughter, the only heir to the throne rebuking him to live with a pirate.” He held his cup up and they touched cups and drank.

    The princess and Angelica came to the pavilion and sat with them. “So, what are you two up to this morning?” the princess asked.

    Andreas told her “We were discussing the delivery of your letter, it must be handled carefully. Do you have some more paper?”

    “Yes.” she said.

    “Would you please bring it here? We need to craft another letter in your hand.” She nodded and hurried back to her hut. Soon she returned with paper, a quill and the ink bottle.

    “Start a new letter, this one to the Viceroy.” he said. She dipped the quill into the ink and looked at him.

    Andreas began

    “My Faithful servant,

    I am the princess Victoria, daughter of King Philip the third, heir to the throne. I have been captured by pirates and am being held for ransom. It is imperative that you get the other letter to my father with the utmost haste. Do not break the seal, see that it is delivered to the King himself. Upon my freedom I will see that you are richly rewarded beyond your greatest dreams.

    I am depending on you to help me now in my most desperate hour. Please send this correspondence to my father the King with all haste.

    Victoria, Princess of Spain.

    When she finished writing it she gently blew on it to dry the ink and then fanned it. Satisfied that the ink was dry she carefully folded it. She then took a candle and lit it, holding it sideways over the fold. She let several drops of wax land on the seal and then blew on it until it was almost dry. She then pressed her ring bearing the crest of the King into the soft wax. She did the same to the letter to her father and handed them to Andreas.

    “We will sail tomorrow to Veracruz to deliver these letters to the Viceroy. He will see to it that they are delivered, with his greed he will probably hand deliver the letter himself so that he gets the credit and the reward.” Andreas said.

    “I hope that he does for he will be sealing his own death warrant. I made it plain in the letter to my father that the Viceroy is responsible for the corruption in the new colonies.“ the princess smiled.

    “You are a clever woman, his execution would be an added bonus.” Andreas told her.

    “It is dangerous for you two to sail to Veracruz, you are wanted men there.” the princess took Felipe’s hand with a worried look on her face.

    “Fear not my lady, we shall return. The gates of hell could not keep me from you.” Felipe said.

    “We will stock the fishing sloop and sail tomorrow then. I will go and hand pick a crew.“ Andreas said. “Now Felipe, play a game of chess with me.”

    They sat at the table and three of the chess pieces were gone.

    “That damn monkey.” Felipe said and the princess giggled.

  2. After a while, they got out and let the wind dry them and then got dressed and walked back to the village. As they approached they heard drums playing a rhythmic beat. When they got to the clearing several women were dancing around a large fire as the men played the drums. The sun was setting like a huge, orange ball through the trees. They saw Andreas sitting smoking a pipe. He smiled when he saw them and asked them to sit beside the fire with him. They liked this older man with his gentle nature and kind eyes.

    “What is that that you are smoking? That is not tobacco, it smells much sweeter.” Victoria said.

    Andreas puffed on his pipe, inhaled deeply and blew a large plume of blue smoke into the night air. He looked at her with heavy eyelids and said “It is a local herb that grows in the jungle here. The natives of this area have smoked it for generations, they claim that it lets them speak to God. It tickles your mind in a way.”

    “What do you mean ‘It tickles your mind’?” Victoria asked.

    The older man took another puff, blew it out and thought for a moment. He looked at her and said “You know how brandy makes things more funny and changes the way that you think? This herb does the same thing but it is cleaner. You do not stagger around and loose your balance. It also makes lovemaking a lot more pleasurable, if you can imagine that. Would you like to try some?” He turned the stem of his pipe toward the princess and raised his eyebrows, smiling.

    “I would.” said Angelica.

    She took the pipe and puffed on it blowing the smoke out of her mouth.

    “You must breathe it into your lungs.” Andreas said “Like this.” he took the pipe and puffed on it and inhaled then blew it out.

    He passed the pipe back to Angelica and she puffed on it and inhaled. She coughed hard and lost the smoke.

    “Not so much, take a small puff .” Andreas told her.

    She tried again several times and was finally able to inhale a small puff without coughing, she blew this out. “Keep smoking it.” Andreas told her.

    Angelica took more puffs and tried to hand the pipe back to Andreas. He declined and told her “Smoke, smoke.”

    She continued to smoke on the pipe and began to watch the women dancing around the fire. She began to nod her head in time with the drums. “I can feel the drums beating in my chest she said.” She began to tap her feet. Andreas smiled and nodded his head.

    Angelica handed the pipe back to him and got up. She joined the women dancing around the fire, they encouraged her showing her how to move her feet and hands. She caught on fast and soon was wheeling around the fire laughing and dancing with the other women. She was really enjoying herself and trying to get the princess to join her. The princess just shook her head and smiled.

    “Are you sure you would not like to try some?” Andreas asked her. “It is making your friend dance.” he smiled at her.

    “Maybe later, I will see what a fool that she makes of herself first.” she said.

    Andreas pointed and she looked, the men were returning from their hunt with two large hogs tied on a pole over their shoulders. They stopped at the edge of the clearing and quickly cleaned and skinned the hogs. Soon they were tied on a pole and suspended above the fire. The roasting pork smelled wonderful and a crescent moon slid slowly up into the night sky.

    Felipe sat beside the princess and watched Angelica dancing with the other women. Soon the food was cooked and they all ate and then began drinking. Felipe poured the last of the brandy and then said “Well, the rest of the brandy is on the ship and I do not feel like swimming. It is time to switch to rum.”

    He poured the princess, Angelica and Jean Pierre a cup of rum. They clicked cups and drank. The princess took a small sip and coughed it out. Angelica drank a large gulp and said “ Whooo! That burns going down”

    Jean Pierre said “Yes, I myself would prefer some fine wine, I have some in my cabin. Would you care to join me?” He smiled and looked at Angelica and she smiled back at him.

    “I think that I would.” she said.

    He stood and pulled her up by her hand. She waved her fingers goodbye at the princess and walked away into the night with Jean Pierre.

    Felipe looked at the princess and she looked at Andreas. Andreas shrugged his shoulders and smiled. “Live and let live.” he said. “I think that they are a good match.”

    Felipe smiled at the princess and she looked down, but she did smile.

    After a moment she said “I think I will go to sleep now, it has been a long voyage. I will see you two in the morning.” She got up and walked to Felipe’s mother’s cabin and closed the door.

    Felipe stared after her and then looked at his uncle. “Easy son, everything in proper time. I am going to sleep now myself. Goodnight Felipe.” He got up and walked away.

    Felipe stared at the cabin and thought about her. Would she rebuke him if he went to her? Perhaps she wanted him to go there. He stared at the fire and thought about her. In the cabin, the princess wondered if he would come calling, she waited for him and finally fell into a restless sleep.

    Early the next morning the princess awoke and found Angelica sleeping in the bed. “So, how was your night?” she asked.

    Angelica just smiled and said “It was a fine night.”

    They got dressed and walked out to the pavilion where Shayla was frying ham in a skillet over a hot bed of coals, it smelled delicious. Without thinking the princess said “Cook me some breakfast.” she was used to commanding people.

    Shayla looked up at her, raised her eyebrows and said “Pardon me? Cook your own breakfast.”

    The princess was stunned and embarrassed, she just stood there with a stunned look.

    Shayla felt bad for rebuking her “Everyone is equal on this island. I serve no one any longer except for my husband.” She continued frying the ham. After a moment she looked back at the princess and said “I know all of this is new to you and I will help you, but I will not serve you. I will slice you some ham but you can go and gather your own eggs. The chicken coop and henhouse are that way.” She pointed and handed the princess a basket.

    They walked together to the chicken coop and went in. Several fat hens pecked at the ground and a large red rooster eyed them suspiciously. “He looks mean.“ the princess said. The henhouse had a ramp going up and they both peeked inside. Long rows of nest boxes lined the wall filled with chickens contentedly clucking and crooning in them. They stepped inside.

    “Where are the eggs?” the princess asked looking around.

    Angelica gave her a stupid look and said “Well I imagine that they are sitting on them to keep them warm.”

    “How do we get them?”

    “How would I know? I have never gathered eggs before.” Angelica said.

    “Well neither have I. Just reach under her and take one.” the princess suggested.

    Angelica moved her hand toward the chicken and received a quick, sharp peck.

    “OW! That hurt!” she said rubbing her hand.

    The princess thought for a moment. “I have a way with animals, let me try I will try being nice to it.” the princess said “Nice chicken, nice chicken” she said in a soothing voice as she reached her hand slowly forward. She too got a hard peck. “OW! That does hurt!”

    “I told you that it did.” Angelica said.

    The princess thought for a moment and said “I know, I will distract it from this side and you quickly reach in from the other side and grab an egg. “

    The princess moved to one side and waved her hands by her face. “Hey chicken! Hey chicken!”

    Angelica made a quick grab and got pecked again “Ow! Dammit! That hurts!”

    “Is everything alright in here ladies?” they turned and saw Shayla tucking her lips under trying not to smile. She moved her hand into the doorway and held a clay bowl full of seed. She rattled it and in a high voice said “Here chick chick chick!” She sprinkled a few seeds on the floor and all of the chickens fluttered down out of their nest boxes.

    She then walked back into the chicken yard calling the chickens sprinkling seeds. Then they heard her laughing very loudly as she walked away.

    The princess’s face turned red as a beet and Angelica began to giggle “Try being nice to it.” she said. She then started laughing uncontrollably. The princess tried to ignore her, she grabbed a warm egg and placed it in the basket.

    “I know,” Angelica said between laughs, “I will distract it from this side!” she laughed even harder. The princess bottom lip began to quiver. Angelica was laughing at the top of her lungs now and wiped tears from her eyes. “Here chick, chick, chick!” her laughter was contagious.

    Finally the princess broke down and they bent over laughing together and could not stop. They finally composed themselves and wiped the tears from their eyes.

    As they approached the pavilion somewhat sheepishly, Shayla looked up and smiled. "I left some fat on the ham so it will render oil, cook it first and you will have hot oil to fry your eggs in." she said.

    The princess placed the ham in the skillet and began to fry it. Shayla instructed her when to turn it over so it would not burn. When the ham was cooked she placed it on a plate and now the hot oil was ready for the eggs. Shayla told her how to crack the eggs and swish them around in the pan so they would not stick. The princess was trying awkwardly to keep the eggs moving but they began to stick anyway.

    "They are sticking to the bottom!" she said.

    "Keep swishing." Shayla said.

    Try as she might she could not get the eggs to move and they began to burn along the edges. "They are burning!" she said.

    "Try being nice to it.” Angelica said, “Nice egg, nice egg" Shayla looked at her and they began to giggle.

    Shayla said "I know, I will distract it!" She put her hands beside her face and waved them. "Hey egg! Hey egg!"

    Angelica and Shayla began to laugh hysterically and the princess couldn't help herself. She took the pan off of the coals and they all laughed together. She was beginning to like Shayla and to see that she was an intelligent woman and also had a good sense of humor. A woman, just like her, unlike what she had been told about them.

    The men came walking to the pavilion and Felipe said to the princess “We are going to take the cannons and sell them so I can pay the men. We will be back this evening. I will also buy some paper and a quill so you can compose a letter to your father.”

    “How will this letter be delivered?” she asked.

    “We will have it delivered to the Viceroy himself, I will write him a separate letter explaining the situation, he will see that your letter is sent to the King with the utmost urgency.”

    The princess looked at him and for the first time wondered if she really wanted to go home. This new life was much more interesting than her former life at the castle. She reflected on the fine trappings of the castle but this island was beautiful and the people were interesting and very friendly. She was learning many new things and unlike home where everyone bowed to her and she only had one friend, here everyone was genuinely friendly to her.

    “Very well” she said with a smile “Take care of yourself.”

    Felipe bowed his head and walked away. Angelica said “I am ready for a bath, how about you two?” she looked from Shayla to the princess.

    Shayla said “ I have to tend the garden and gather some fruit for supper. The men will be hungry when they get back. You two go, it is quite safe during the day, jaguars are night hunters and sleep during the day. The cove is a safe place, only our tribe goes there.”

    The princess thought about what she had just said ‘our tribe’ and realized that they were indeed a large family. She had been sheltered from the common people and their struggles and had only known Angelica as a friend. A part of her longed to be included in this tribe, to be a part of the whole and have friends who liked her for who she really was, not just because she was to be the Queen. Being a Queen meant nothing on this island or to these people.

    “Come then, let us go.” Angelica said.

    “You are sure that it is safe?” the princess asked.

    “Our women go there alone to bathe and fetch water every day, it is quite safe.” Shayla told her.

    Together they walked toward the jungle. The trail was even more beautiful in the morning, an abundance of birds and large colorful butterflies flitted about. The jungle was filled with the cries of birds. Angelica picked a flower and tucked it behind her ear.

    Soon they were at the cove and they undressed and got into the water. Angelica looked around, then looked at her and said “I like it here, it is beautiful. What about you?”

    “It is beautiful.” she said.

    “That is not what I asked, I asked if you like it here also?” Angelica looked into her eyes.

    “What is not to like? It is beautiful. We are being treated well and they are all very friendly. Things could be much worse I suppose, we could have just as well been captured by men with no morals and been abused.”

    “Yes, we are being treated well and they are all very friendly. They are all true friends and care about each other, it is like a large family.” Angelica said.

    “A tribe.” she replied.

    “Yes, a tribe. All of my life I have been groomed and raised only to serve you and we are friends. But I have never had a group of friends. People at the castle respected us only due to our position, our social status. Here, that means nothing, they like us for who we are.”

    The princess said nothing but thought about what she had said. She went on “I really like Jean Pierre and he likes me also, I think that I am falling in love with him. He is such a gentleman. I have never been allowed to know a man before, I was always raised to serve you and I mean nothing bad by that. But for once in my life I am excited about today, tomorrow and what will come.”

    She hesitated for a moment, then said “I do not want to go back, I want to stay here with Jean Pierre and these people. I am happy here.”

    The princess looked at her, all of this was so new, she had not really seriously entertained the thought of not ever going back.

    “Think about it, I know that you also like Felipe and it is obvious that he likes you as well. He is such a strong man unlike any that you have ever met. We have everything that we need here and more. You are my best and only friend and I love you, but I am not going back.” she said.

    The princess looked at her and said “Even if I decided not to go back, which I have not, what about the ransom? I am worth a huge fortune to these men, riches beyond their wildest dreams, a Kings ransom”

    Angelica looked at her for a moment “Have you not heard what they have said? What motivates these men? Felipe and Andreas do not seek wealth, they seek revenge. Money means nothing to them, they have money. What could be a sweeter revenge for Felipe than for you to decide to stay here with him? For him to have willingly stolen away the only child of the King? The heir to the throne? His family would no longer be in power, he will loose the royal bloodline and it will go to another. That would be the utmost revenge for Felipe if the King knew this”

    What she said made a lot of sense, the princess had to admit. She did like Felipe and Andreas and was very happy here. It was an adventure, exciting and new. The thought of staying here with Felipe now sounded appealing to her, she looked at Angelica.

    “What if Felipe wants the ransom instead? It is a huge sum of money, more than he could ever gather in a lifetime.”

    “I think that he would choose you instead, given the chance. Open up to him, I know that you like him.” she smiled.

    It was so much to consider, the lavish lifestyle of the castle or life on this island with him. She looked at the waterfall thundering down into the cove, the lush jungle and the flowers that lined the edge of the pool. Her decision was made.

    “Yes! I want to stay here too.” she said.

    Angelica squealed with delight and hugged her. “Let us go home now.”

    They dressed and walked down the trail toward the village. The princess stopped and picked a flower and tucked it behind her ear “How does this look? She asked.

    “He will love it.” she said.

  3. I hope that someone is actually enjoying reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. I struggled with the roles of the former slaves, trying to imagine what they went through and express it. Still, I worry about offending others as I try to portray what is going through a pampered princesse's mind, how she percieves them. She does come to love them, as you will soon see. I thank you for allowing me to post this work here, it may not be Shakespeare or a great work of literature, but it does come from the heart. You will soon see the princesses eyes opened to the horrors that her father has perpetrated on the slaves and see her heart turn.



    On the morning of the fifth day Tortuga came into sight. As they approached the lagoon they furled all but two of their sails and turned slowly into the sheltered harbor. One of the wives stood vigil on the beach and shouted out a greeting waving her arms above her head. She then ran back to the village.

    Soon all of the wives were wading out into the water, shouting and waving at them. Batu wheeled the ship around expertly and the anchors were dropped. The ship swung into the wind and came to a stop, tugging at her anchors. Men immediately jumped over the side and began swimming to the shore.

    Jean Pierre and Felipe walked up to the princess and Angelica who were standing at the rail looking at the island.

    “Where is the city?” the princess asked.

    “There is no city, we have a village just inside of the tree line. We wish to keep our presence here unknown.“ Felipe said. “We will lower a life boat for Angelica and yourself.”

    “For Angelica, please. My horse will not be able to get on a lifeboat. I will swim him to the shore.” the princess said.

    “As you wish.” Felipe said. He and Jean Pierre placed Angelica in the lifeboat as the princess handed her the cage with Puco in it. The boat was loaded with the trunks of their clothing and then pushed off. Angelica smiled and waved at her.

    Andreas stood on the shore with Batu and Shayla watching the boat approach. As soon as it was clear of the ship the princess swung up onto her horse. She walked it to the far rail and then charged forward. The strong black stallion jumped over the rail and landed with a big splash. She then began to swim toward the shore.

    “That is one hell of a woman.” Andreas said. Batu just smiled and nodded his head. They waited for her to approach until the horse waded onto the shore and shook itself dry. Victoria swung down out of the saddle and took the reins.

    “This way please.” Andreas said with a sweep of his hand.

    They walked up to the pavilion and Andreas tied her horse to a post. The men were all sitting with their wives and it was very obvious that they were as glad to be home as their wives were to see them. Felipe and Andreas escorted them to a bench and had them sit down. Felipe walked away and came back with a flask of brandy and poured them a drink.

    A tall, beautiful black woman approached them holding Batu’s hand and walked up to the two women. She smiled and said “I am Shayla, Batu’s wife. He has asked me to watch over you and introduce you to the ways of life on this island. I will be glad to be your friend.” she smiled at them.

    The princess was somewhat unnerved at being in the proximity of so many black people, she had never even seen black people before.

    Angelica stood up and said “It is good to meet you Shayla and to see other women. I also want to be your friend.”

    Shayla looked at the princess and tilted her head, waiting for a response. Victoria had always been told that the blacks were ignorant savages, not much more than animals suited only for hard labor. She did not know how to take this woman who stood before her speaking perfect Spanish. She shot a glance at Angelica who made a subtle jerk of her head toward Shayla and urged her with her eyes.

    She smiled and said “I am Victoria, it is nice to meet you also.”

    “Well it is good to have new women on the island, maybe we will have some new gossip to share. “ Shayla said with a warm smile.

    “Tonight you may use my mothers cabin, it is right over there.” Felipe pointed. “Tomorrow we will build you one as well as a stable for your horse. We need to have a celebration, a homecoming feast.” Felipe said. He looked at Andreas and said “I will round up a few men and we will go hunting and kill a few pigs, tonight we will eat and celebrate. If you will excuse me, we will be back before dark, have a big fire ready.” He and Batu rose and went to talk to the men.

    “Speaking of dark, do not wander about when it gets dark and the fires burn down.” Andreas told them. “We have jaguars in the jungle and they become quite bold at night. We will keep a large fire burning all night and have men take turns feeding it so your horse will be safe, tomorrow we will build a safe stall.”

    “Jaguars? But Felipe is going hunting out there, will he be alright?” the princess blurted out without thinking. Angelica shot her a small, knowing smile.

    “Felipe will be just fine, he has killed many jaguars. That is how he got that scar on his face, the first one almost got him but he was quite young.” Andreas said.

    They sipped their brandy and Angelica said “So, tell me about the Frenchman.”

    “I have noticed that you do seem to be interested in him, what would you like to know?” Andreas asked.

    “Where does he come from?” she inquired.

    “France, I would imagine.” Andreas smiled.

    “Well, what I mean is that generally the French and Spaniards do not get along. How did he come to be with Felipe?”

    Andreas studied them both for a few moments and then said “Felipe hired him, as well as all of the other men to exact his revenge on the Spaniards.”

    “Revenge? Revenge for what? Isn’t he, as well as you, a Spaniard?” the princess asked.

    Andreas was old and wise enough to know that they had been sheltered from the truth but it was time that they learned. “My brother Juan Carlos and I were born to a wealthy family in Spain. We sailed to the new colonies and he had a son, Felipe. We purchased land and a fleet of fishing boats, we made a handsome living.

    One day they came upon a small ship that had been attacked by pirates. While below looking for survivors the Viceroy’s men sailed upon them and accused them of the crime. It was obvious that they were innocent, they had no weapons and were in a fishing sloop. Still, there was a large bounty on pirates so they arrested them for the crime. While trying to defend his son, they killed Juan Carlos in cold blood, right in front of Felipe, he was not even armed.”

    Andreas paused for a moment and the women said nothing. “They arrested Felipe but he managed to escape.”

    “Why did he not just plead his case to the Viceroy? Being in a fishing sloop with no weapons they surely would have seen that he was innocent.” the princess said.

    Andreas looked at her. “The new colonies are very corrupt and the Viceroy himself is the most corrupt of them all. He tries all accused of piracy, they are gagged and do not even get to speak during the trial. He gets a portion of all of the bounties paid by your father so he does not care if they are innocent. All are found guilty and are hanged, left to rot at the port as a warning to other pirates. Just like my brother, Felipe’s father, they do not get a chance to defend themselves nor to have a proper burial.”

    Andreas paused again and both women looked at him. They both had a shocked expression on their face. “We knew they would seize all of our land and assets so we sent his mother to safety. Felipe and I escaped and came here. He and I swore revenge on all who serve the King.”

    The princess looked at him. “My father knows nothing of this.” she said raising her chin.

    Shayla said “There is much that you do not know. Your father makes a lot of money from the slave trade. He gets a portion of the money for each new slave child born and sold as a tax. My parents were captured in Africa and sold into slavery. My mother was repeatedly raped by her master until he tired of her. Then he sent her out to toil in the fields for the rest of her life. I was also raped as a very young girl. They bullwhipped our men. They took our freedom, our language and our culture, everything away from us. Felipe and Andreas freed us and our men also hate the Spaniards, that is why they fight by his side. Batu and I were to be sold, separated on the day that they rescued us, the man who bought me told me that he was going to rape me that night.”

    The princess was shocked. She had always known that there were slaves but she had never given it any thought. This woman in front of her speaking perfect Spanish was not what she imagined nor had been taught that slaves were like.

    Shayla continued “I understand your plight better than you might think. You came from royalty and are now a captive. My mother was also descended from royalty in her tribe but she was captured and sold into slavery. She too was a captive.

    Felipe is a good man, you have been, and will be protected and treated a lot better than my mother was. He and Andreas freed us, we no longer get raped, our men are no longer whipped with a bullwhip. We are free now as you soon will be. He only wants your ransom to pay his men and hire more.”

    The princess thought about all of this for a minute, then said “Do you also hate us because we are Spaniards?” she asked looking at both of them.

    “You have committed no crimes against us and cannot be held responsible for what your father does. Actually, I am growing quite fond of the both of you.” Andreas said with a smile.

    He managed to get a small smile out of both of them. The princess lowered her head and said “ I did not know any of this. I was taught, forgive me, that the black people were savages who could not even speak. I was always told that they were like animals. I now see that you are real people. I cannot imagine a man whipping another man with a bullwhip or raping a young girl.” Her eyes filled with tears and she tried to blink them back.

    “It is not your fault.” Shayla said hugging her. “You had no knowledge and nothing to do with this. You are not responsible.”

    “Princess” Andreas said “The new colonies are far from the eyes of the King. The Viceroy and his men are getting very rich through extortion, bribes and arresting people for crimes that they did not commit. They seize land and money from the poor to line their own pockets. Even Spaniards born of pure blood in the new colonies are treated as second class citizens like Felipe was as they try to maintain a higher social status and cling to some sense of royalty.

    The natives who lived there had a rich culture but lacked gunpowder and horses. They were slaughtered and subjugated by the Spaniards. Even today they are treated worse than dogs and are run down on the streets by pure bloods on their horses for their amusement. The new colonies are rampant with corruption.”

    All of this came as a surprise to both of them. Victoria had always idolized her father and only heard of his goodness and generosity. Andreas could tell that she was shocked by all of this, it was much to put on a young woman all at once and her heart was deeply troubled. He rose and said “Come, let me show you something.”

    The princess, Angelica and Shayla got up and followed him through the village to the edge of the jungle. There was a well worn trial through the jungle, the vegetation was very lush. The trees were huge with trunks wider than a wagon covered with thick vines larger than a man’s leg that grew up them. Flowers as large as her hand of many bright colors bloomed everywhere and a flock of bright scarlet parrots perched in a tree chattering loudly. Butterflies flitted among the flowers.

    The trail curved on and they heard a deep rumbling sound in the distance. Andreas stopped and put his finger against his lips, pointed ahead then stepped to the side. A doe was standing in the trail with a spotted fawn at her feet. The doe looked at them, her ears stood straight up. The princess was beside herself with joy, she had always loved animals and had only seen a deer in paintings. The doe flicked her tail and leaped into the jungle with the fawn scampering behind her into the underbrush.

    “That was beautiful! I have never seen a deer before!” she said to Andreas.

    “This is a beautiful island, animals are abundant.” Andreas said.

    The trail sloped sharply upward for a distance and then dipped. The roaring sound got louder. They rounded a curve and Andreas stopped and stepped to the side. He waved his hand for them to approach. They walked to the edge and saw a very tall waterfall spilling over the edge of the mountain. The white water cascaded down over a hundred feet and thundered onto a jutting ledge of rocks only to spill down further and splash into a wide cove of clear water.

    The mist of water dissipated along the rocks beside the waterfall. The shore was lined with large, smooth stones. Ferns and huge elephant ears grew along the edges. The sun’s rays cut through the trees and played along the green surface as the wind gently blew the trees. White birds with long legs stood in the water looking for fish.

    “The water is fresh, you can bathe and swim here. This is where we draw our water.” Andreas said.

    “It is beautiful! I have not bathed in over a week, I would love to get in that water.” the princess said.

    “You are safe here, Shayla will stay with you, I will be at the village.” Andreas said. He turned and walked away.

    As soon as he rounded the curve in the trail Angelica ran toward the water screaming and laughing, shedding her clothes as she went. The princess laughed at her and undressed at the waters edge folding her clothes and placing them on a rock. She and Shayla waded into the cool water and wet their hair. They reveled in the water, washed themselves and talked.

  5. Felipe took out his nautical charts. He knew the waters and the route home yet he felt like he needed something to take his mind off of her. She was beautiful and strong, he had never seen nor met a woman like her. The mere thought of her made his heart beat faster and he felt excited and strange inside. Again he tried to study the charts trying to think of other places and upcoming adventures but his mind went back to her.

    He got up and went to the window and took deep breaths of the salt air looking at the horizon, thinking of their homecoming. Still his thoughts kept returning to her. Andreas had always been his mentor so he left the cabin and looked for him. He found Andreas sitting at the front of the ship on a bucket sharpening his sword. Felipe paced back and forth looking out to sea and Andreas watched him for a few moments. He was clearly agitated.

    “What is bothering you Felipe?” He asked and kept looking at his blade as he honed it.

    Felipe looked at him and said “Nothing, I guess that I am just still excited about our battle and victory.”

    Andreas smiled slightly and said “She is very beautiful.”

    Felipe feigned innocence and said “Who?”

    “Oh come now nephew, I have known you since you were born and I can read you like a book. You cannot hide anything from me, she is on your mind and you seem to be falling for her. I know what that is like, she occupies your every thought, you feel all funny inside when you think of her.”

    Felipe stopped pacing and looked at him. Andreas smiled and went back to sharpening his sword. Finally he resigned himself that it was useless to try to lie to his Uncle who knew him so well. He got another bucket, flipped it over and sat beside him so he did not have to look into his eyes. After a few moments he said “She is very beautiful.”

    “Who?” Andreas smiled at him.

    Felipe was finally able to laugh. “She is a princess and I am a pirate. There is no chance of anything ever becoming of us. I should just forget her and treat her as the ransom that she represents.”

    Andreas slowly honed his sword. Felipe trusted his wisdom and looked to him for a ray of hope. Finally Andreas spoke.

    “It will take many weeks, months to get the word back to the King demanding her ransom. It will take even more time to arrange for the exchange. You have time on your side. Treat her like the beautiful woman that she is, but do not grovel or appear too eager. Still pay attention to her, be kind and fair to her. And smile, that scar on your face might scare her. A princess and a pirate? Stranger things have happened.” Andreas looked at him.

    “We are still five days and nights from our home. I think that you should offer them the use of your cabin so they will be comfortable. You can sleep with us on the gun deck and get to know her better as the days pass.” Andreas said.

    “That is a great idea!” Felipe said and he jumped to his feet.

    Andreas held his hand up and said “Felipe, do you remember the jaguar? You must learn to listen to what I say. Be kind and respectful but do not appear too eager. Slow down.” He smiled and put his hand down. “And smile.”

    Felipe stopped and took a deep breath and blew it out. He smiled at Andreas and slowly walked toward the stern. Andreas smiled to himself and examined the edge of his sword with his finger. He slid the whetstone along it’s length as light as a feather.

    Angelica closed the door to the captains quarters and worked the lock. She smiled and spread her arms out and said “Now this is much better. This is much better than shivering on that cold, hard deck snuggled against your horse do you not you think?” She looked around and spied the bar. “Would you care for a brandy ?”

    “Yes, please.” the princess said as she sat in a comfortably upholstered chair. Angelica poured two generous drinks, walked over and handed her one. She sat beside her and sipped at her drink.

    “This is good brandy.” she said. “You know, he is a handsome man also. He does not have the fine looks of Jean Pierre but he is handsome in a more rugged, manly way. I wonder how he got that scar?”

    The princess sipped her drink and said “Probably in a tavern fight.”

    “You do not find him the least bit attractive?” Angelica asked.

    “Unlike you, I do not go lusting after pirates after a few sips of brandy.” The princess said with a smile.

    “Oh come now, he has shown us kindness and even given us the use of his cabin. I have seen the sons of royalty who came to court you. With their pale skin, powdered wigs and skinny arms. He is a handsome fellow and a real man, he commands all of these fierce fighting men. He is not what I expected of a pirate, he has treated us with respect. Will you not at least admit that he is a handsome man?” Angelica said with a smile.

    The princess looked down at her drink and said “Yes, I suppose that he is a handsome man, in a rugged kind of way.”

    Angelica smiled and poured them another drink. Later that evening there was a knock at the door. Angelica got up and opened the door to see a really large, fat man with a black, curly beard and smiling eyes holding a tray with two covered plates.

    “I am Carlos, the ship’s cook. I have prepared you a meal. It may not be what you are accustomed to but the grouper is fresh and the beans are hot and good. We have no fresh bread nor an oven so I am afraid that tortillas will have to suffice. May I come in?”

    It did smell delicious and she asked him in. He placed the plates on the table with knives, spoons and forks and two cloth napkins. He then pulled their chairs out, went to the bar and poured them two drinks. “Eat hearty ladies, if you wish for more just come down to the galley, the scent will lead you there. Just leave the tray and plates outside of the door when you are finished.” With that he turned, walked out of the door and closed it softly behind him.

    They quickly uncovered their plates, the grouper had been grilled a golden brown and the bowl of beans were spiced to perfection. They ate hungrily and slept that night in a soft, down filled bed.

    Early the next morning there was another knock on the door. Angelica quickly brushed her hair and opened it. Jean Pierre was standing there with a tray of food. “May I come in?” he asked.

    Angelica opened the door and he set the tray on the table. He bowed his head and walked toward the door. The princess said “Jean Pierre, I must feed my horse.”

    “I found the oats that we removed from the Luisa below decks. Your horse has been fed and watered . I cleaned the deck as well.”

    He turned around again and Angelica got up and said “Jean Pierre, you have been most kind to us sir and I do want to thank you.” she took both of his hands in hers. Jean Pierre raised her hand and bowed his head. He quickly and gently kissed the back of her hand as he looked at her with his blue eyes. He turned and walked out of the room.

    Angelica turned to look at the princess who just smiled and said “Tramp.” Angelica giggled.

    She put her hands on her hips and cocked her head to the side, she looked at the princess and said. “We are being treated fairly and with respect even though we have been captured by pirates. This is a grand adventure! What ever happened in the castle? Nothing! It was so boring there. This is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me in my life, as well as yours if you will admit it.

    Think about it, captured and living among pirates who are treating us well and who are not ravaging us or abusing us. They only seek our ransom and we will be returned back home safe. What are the odds of something like that happening? For once in my life I feel alive and excited. Live this Victoria, you will never again see such an exciting time in your life.”

    The princess looked at her and said “You know, you may very well be right about this.”

  6. She turned back around and walked out of the door with Angelica following her.

    Angelica looked back at the cabin and had a concerned look on her face. “Perhaps we should have stayed in the cabin, we will surely be raped by all of those men if we are up one the decks alone.”

    Victoria stopped and looked at her. “They would not dare rape the heir to the throne, my father would have them all tortured slowly.” she said.

    “Your father is not here, we are. And if you have not noticed, these men do not recognize the throne nor do they have any respect or fear of it. Think about it, over a hundred men, pirates! And here we are, two attractive women alone at sea on this ship with them. Surely they will take turns ravaging us all night.” Angelica said.

    The princess had no reply, but she did look concerned. She turned and went out onto the deck.

    The men sat drinking their brandy and Andreas said to Felipe “The man at the rail who surrendered, I do not think that you should have killed him.”

    “He was a coward, he hid behind his men and then dropped his sword. Beside that, he held allegiance to the King and I swore before God that I would kill every soldier who holds allegiance to the King.”

    Andreas sipped his rum and looked at it for a moment. “Yes, he was a coward, but when he dropped his weapon he also dropped his allegiance and will to fight for the King. I do not think that we should kill unarmed men who are surrendering, that does not sit well with me, we are not murderers. We should put them in lifeboats and let the sea have it’s way with them.” He looked at Felipe.

    Felipe thought for a moment and said “You are right, we will just put them in lifeboats from now on if they surrender. The sea is relentless and they will probably die anyway.”

    “But it will not be by our hand.” Andreas said.

    Felipe had the Captains chest from the Luisa brought in and Andreas easily picked the lock. There was a box of fine cigars, some brandy and another smaller strongbox full of reales, pearls and assorted gemstones.

    Felipe looked at Jean Pierre and said “Count these please and distribute them among the crew. Make sure that the men know that none of them are touch the women, they are to treat them with the greatest of respect”. Jean Pierre counted the coins on the table and separated the pearls and gemstones. He slid Felipe, Andreas and Batu’s share toward them and pocketed his own. He then excused himself and went up on the deck.

    Felipe looked at his two companions, “It was a good day.” he said.

    “A very good day, we killed many Spaniards today.” Batu smiled.

    “I knew there were far too many soldiers on that ship for a normal compliment.” Andreas said. “They were there to guard the princess, a lot of good it did her.” he smiled.

    “Yes, and she will bring a fine ransom.” Felipe said. “Now, I am hungry, let us go to the galley.” They got up and went to eat supper.

    Jean Pierre moved about the ship paying each man his share and promising them there would be much more to come once the cannons were sold. As he approached the two women standing at the stern they had their backs to him talking. He removed his hat and said “Pardon me.” they turned toward him and immediately stood closer together holding each other for protection.

    He looked at them and smiled and said “There is no reason for you to fear any man on this ship. Felipe has given the strictest orders that you are not to be touched and are to be treated with the utmost of respect. May I offer you something to eat or drink?”

    The princess said nothing but Angelica said “I am a little hungry.”

    “Very well.” said Jean Pierre with a smile. “Carlos is an excellent cook, I picked him myself. I will have him prepare something for you and have it brought up. Is there anything else I can do to make you more comfortable?”

    “No, thank you, you have been very kind.” said Angelica. The princess shot her a steely look.

    “I will take my leave of you now, your food will be up soon.” He bowed his head, smiled at Angelica, put his hat on and walked below.

    “You have been very kind?” The princess said. “He is a pirate, he too killed our soldiers and kidnapped us. You now tell him that he has been very kind?”

    Angelica was excited. “Did you not hear what he said? Felipe has given orders that we are not to be touched and treated with respect. We are safe!” she hugged the princess. She looked toward the stairway. “He is a very striking looking man and very polite, do you not agree?”

    “He is a pirate, a rogue and a scoundrel. I do not trust any of them.” the princess said.

    “That is not what I asked you.” Angelica smiled. “I said that he is quite a handsome man.”

    The princess just shook her head and looked at her. “ I do not believe this, here we are kidnapped and you find the time to look at the men.”

    Angelica just tilted her head and smiled. “We are safe, your father will pay our ransom and we shall be free.” she stole another glance over the princess’s shoulder toward the stairwell.

    After a large hot meal Felipe was tired so he went to his cabin. He thought about the beautiful woman up on the deck. Perhaps he should show that he was a gentleman and just bring her some blankets he thought. But then he knew that she must learn that she was no longer in charge of her destiny, it was time that she learned that he was the Captain of this ship.

    He tossed and turned and could not find sleep. He kept thinking about her, seeing her even though his eyes were closed. It had been dark for several hours now and the wind whistled through the rigging, he knew that she had to be very cold up on deck without even a cloak. Finally he sat up and thought for a moment.

    He rose and got dressed and gathered arm full of blankets and two pillows. He walked up on the deck and did not see them. Her horse was laying across the deck at the rear of the ship and he walked back. As he came around the horse he saw them clutching together trying to stay warm using the horse as shelter against the wind.

    They were shivering and looked up at him.

    “Forgive me, please. I brought you some blankets.” He flapped one blanket over them and then another. The third he placed over the horse and rubbed it’s forehead. He handed them the pillows and then stood. He turned to walk away.

    “Thank you.” the princess said. He turned and smiled at her and got the tiniest of smiles back for just a brief second. He removed his hat, bowed his head and walked off.

    Early the next morning the sun streamed in through the windows and awoke Felipe. He stretched, yawned and went to the basin and poured some fresh water. He splashed the water on his face then dried it with a soft towel. Remembering that the princess was on board he shaved and combed his hair, pulled it back and tied it.

    He then dressed and went to the galley for some coffee. Carlos saw him and shouted a good morning “Would you like some fried ham and eggs?” he asked.

    “I will never turn down your cooking Carlos.” The big man poured him a cup of steaming coffee and busied himself cooking. “Has the princess eaten yet?” he asked.

    “I have not seen her, is that why you shaved?” Carlos asked with a smile.

    “She is royalty but I still expect her to respect me as the Captain of this ship.” Felipe replied. Carlos said nothing but began to hum a tune, the smell of ham frying filled the room. After a large, delicious meal he decided to have a cigar up on the deck so he went to his quarters and chose a fine Cuban cigar. He lit it then climbed the stairs up to the deck.

    Walking to the stern, he saw Batu manning the wheel. Victoria and Angelica standing at the rear railing, staring out to sea. Batu called out “Good morning Felipe, we have all of the makings of a fine day! A good wind is at our backs and our holds are full of Spanish plunder.” He stuck his bottom lip out as if he was pouting and motioned with his thumb at the two women standing behind him.

    They turned to look but the women did not turn to acknowledge them, only her irritating monkey turned his head and bared his teeth at Felipe. Felipe returned the gesture and threw his arms up quickly hoping to scare the beast into jumping overboard. The monkey simply turned his head.

    Felipe found himself staring at their firm, finely shaped buttocks as the wind whipped their skirts around. Batu noticed his stare and silently nodded his head. Felipe turned toward the front as did Batu. He stuck his cigar in his mouth and reached below the wheel to retrieve his fine brass looking glass and began to scan the horizon.

    Quick as lightning there was a pounce on his shoulder and before he could react the monkey snatched the cigar from his mouth and his prized looking glass. It leaped to the ratlines and quickly climbed up to the crows nest. The little thief had his fine cigar in it’s filthy mouth and was looking through the spyglass.

    “You little bastard! You thieving little bastard! ”Felipe screamed at him. He pulled his pistol and took aim at the monkey. The gun was snatched down and Victoria stood beside him with Angelica right behind her holding a dagger in her hand.

    “Who are you to call anyone a thief? You killed all of our men and stole everything from our ship.” Victoria said in an angry voice.

    Felipe looked at Angelica and asked “And you? What do intend to do with that dagger?“

    “I will stick it up your ass if the need arises. She is my charge and I am sworn to protect her. More than that, she is my best friend.“ Angelica replied with a steely look in her eye.

    Felipe was confused as to what to do, any man who challenged him soon felt the bite of his blade, but these were women. He was not accustomed to being talked to like this.

    Victoria still had a grip on his pistol hand and moved in front of him, for the first time he caught her scent. It was a soft, subtle mix like vanilla and sweet flowers. Her long gold hair waved toward him backlit by the morning sun and her green eyes blazed. In the cool morning air, her nipples were erect, protruding against her blouse. Her firm breasts were large and her cleavage rose and fell with her fast, angry breathing. It had been a very long time since Felipe had been with a woman and he felt his manhood begin to rise and press against his pants.

    She turned and looked up at the monkey and began to call out. “Puco… Pucooo, come on boy.” She continued to call out in a soft, singsong voice. “It is ok…it is ok, I knowww, I knowww…” Her soft voice was like a bird singing and her hand was warm and soft on his as she held his pistol hand. He looked at her breasts from the side rising and falling and he got even more aroused, the bulge in his pants was now getting very obvious.

    Batu couldn’t help but notice. Felipe looked at him and he glanced at Felipe’s crotch and his eyebrows went up. He looked back at Felipe and smiled, he had to turn his head. Felipe was embarrassed. “Get your damned monkey! Batu let me take the wheel.” He yanked his hand away and quickly stepped behind the wheel to hide his erection. Batu turned his head, then his body. He crossed his arms against his chest and then put one palm over his mouth. He began to convulse silently but then could not hold it in any longer. He laid his head back and began to laugh is his deep voice, his laughter grew and got louder.

    Felipe’s face burned a bright crimson red, he tried to ignore Batu. Finally the monkey came down. Victoria thumped his fine cigar over the rail and handed him his spyglass. “Here is your precious spyglass.” she said. Felipe was embarrassed and this made him even more angry.

    “You mind that monkey and keep a leash on him or I will throw him overboard.” he said.

    “You would not dare.” she said.

    Batu finally composed himself and he turned to face them. He looked at her but said. “You know Felipe, my ancestors used to eat a lot of monkeys in Africa, I understand that they are delicious when roasted over an open fire on a spit.”

    Felipe rubbed his chin and said “Mmmm, that does sound good. Perhaps stuffed with potatoes and onions.”

    “And peppers. “ Batu said, “You must not forget the peppers.”

    She stood defiantly and said “You would not dare touch my monkey!”

    Felipe blurted out without thinking “I will touch much more than your monkey!”

    At that, Batu lost control of himself and his laughter boomed out again. He was holding his stomach, in uncontrollable laughter because he knew what Felipe really meant, although he did not mean to say it.

    Victoria looked at Batu and said “And you, you big buffoon, I grow tired of your mindless laughter.”

    Batu stood to his full height and crossed his heavily muscled arms across his large chest. His deep voice was clear and unwavering “Very well then, mind your monkey” He turned and winked at Felipe. “I will go and see if I can find those peppers.”

    Victoria turned to Felipe and said “And you, you need to go and do something with that.” She pointed at his crotch and then wheeled around and she and Angelica quickly walked away toward the front of the ship.

    Batu looked at Felipe and again his face was crimson. Again he began to laugh uncontrollably. “Shut up.” Felipe said. “What did she call you? A buffoon? Shut up you big buffoon.”

    Batu laughed even louder as Felipe stormed off . Batu was laughing hard but he managed to shout “Felipe! You are being a very…HARD man to deal with this morning! Why must you be such a …HARD man?” He laughed even louder as Felipe went below decks.

  7. A loud laugh went up from the crew and Felipe waved his hand to silence them. “If we chose to get off of this ship, which we do not, who is going to sail it, you? All of your men are dead. If you truly are who you say you are, you will fetch a fine ransom indeed.”

    Felipe turned to his men , “Spread out to the sides along the rails.”

    As they did they revealed the deck which was littered with dead Spanish soldiers. Other than Felipe and his crew there was not a man left alive on the deck. Felipe turned back to her and said. “Again I will ask you to drop your weapon.”

    “Never!” She replied, “I would rather die on this ship. Another ship will come along and rescue us.”

    Felipe studied her, she was strikingly beautiful. Her long hair blew in the wind and her green eyes blazed at him with determination. He was not prepared for this and he thought for a moment.

    “You do not understand princess. After we unload everything of value from this ship we are going to scuttle her and send her to the bottom. I intend to place two kegs of gunpowder in her hold beneath the water line and blow a hole the size of that sail in her.” he pointed at the mainsail.

    “She will sink very quickly. We are days from land and as soon as we start throwing these dead men overboard, these waters will teem with sharks. Again, drop your weapon.”

    “You would not dare to do such a thing, my horse would drown” she said defiantly, but Felipe saw the shadow of doubt creeping into her eyes.

    “As will you drown if you are not eaten by a shark first. Again, drop your weapon.”

    She stared at him defiantly and did not lower her sword.

    “Very well then, have it your way princess.” He turned and shouted “Throw these Spanish dogs over the side so we can unload this ship!” he turned and walked away.

    The women were horrified as men grabbed the dead bodies by their feet and hands and swung them, tossing them over the side. Even before the deck was cleared, just as Felipe had said, the sharks were converging and feeding wildly on the dead bodies, shaking their heads as they ripped them apart. The water was turning red around the ship.

    Men formed a chain, grunting and sweating as they passed the cannons up the stairs and lined them amidships on the Vengeance. Then a chain of men passed the many cannon balls and kegs of gunpowder across the decks. Very soon they were removing the small arms and what food and other supplies they wanted. When several large trunks were brought up Victoria shouted,

    “Stop! Those are my clothes!”

    Felipe replied “Yes, I looked at them and fine clothes they are. They will fetch a good price also. Besides, you will not be needing them. What little the sharks leave the crabs will feast on tonight as you sleep on the bottom.”

    Again she said “You would not dare.”

    Felipe just smiled, turned around and went below. He came back up with Batu who had a keg of gunpowder with a hole knocked in it. Batu shook the keg as he walked backwards leaving a thick trail of black powder on the deck. He smiled at the princess as he did this. They made the trail all the way to the side of the ship then jumped onto the Vengeance.

    Felipe lit a cigar and puffed on it until the end glowed orange. He blew the ashes off of the end and looked at her. “This is your last chance princess.”

    “You go to hell!” she said.

    “You first.” Felipe said. He slowly lowered the cigar toward the trail of black powder as he looked at her.

    She watched him until the cigar was one inch from the powder and then shouted “Wait! We are coming.”

    “Drop your weapon first.” Felipe said. She gave him a withering look and let it clatter to the deck.

    Felipe withdrew the cigar. Victoria took the horses reins from Angelica and pointed at a small cage. Angelica took the cage and climbed on board the Vengeance. Victoria swung her leg over the side of her horse and wheeled his head walking it toward the far rail. There was not much distance for the horse to gather the speed to jump the rail. She turned the horse and leaned forward, whispering in his ear as she scratched his neck. She sat up and gave the horse his head. She kicked him hard and shouted at him “Go Fiero!” The horse thundered across the deck and jumped, clearing the rail easily and clattered to a stop on the deck. She then wheeled him around, pet his neck and dismounted.

    Angelica took her horse and the princess went to the small cage and opened it. She made a clicking sound and wiggled her fingers at the opening. A small brown monkey with a long tail leaped into her arms and quickly scurried up onto her shoulder. It bared it’s teeth at Felipe.

    “Very well done.” Felipe said ignoring the monkey.”



    Ten men held the ships together as the grappling hooks were taken loose. Felipe puffed again on his cigar and touched it to the line of black powder. It lit and hissed, throwing sparks as it burned brightly along the deck. They pushed the ships apart as the fiery line made its way down the stairs. Quickly tacking the sails on the foremast, the Vengeance nosed away from the Luisa.

    There was a huge explosion and a large geyser of water erupted from her starboard side high into the air. The ship rocked portside for a moment and then rocked back up straight. She quickly began to keel over onto her side and settle deeper into the water. Air rushed out of the hatches from below as tons of seawater rushed into the huge hole.

    When her starboard rail met the water she righted herself and settled down upright, her masts slipping beneath the surface. Felipe took his pistol and as the mainmast slipped beneath the surface he shot a hole in the center of the flapping Spanish flag. His men cheered. He just looked at the princess and then turned away.

    “Batu, Ajamu, take them to my quarters and stand guard over them.” He said pointing at the women. He then shouted to the rest of the men “Bring the wounded there, the most critical first.” he turned and went to check on his men.

    Felipe and Andreas moved about the men checking their wounds. Several were severe, many more would loose a hand or fingers. Several had arrows impaled in them and there were also gunshot wounds. They laid them out in the order of their severity and had the men fashion a stretcher. The first man was brought down to Felipe’s cabin.

    Victoria and Angelica were sitting in chairs at the table and he gently asked them to please move. He cleared the table quickly and the wounded man was laid upon the table. He had an arrow sticking out of his chest at a downward angle. Andreas came into the room with the surgeons satchel and placed it on the table.

    He gave the man several strong drinks of rum and waited a few minutes. A stick was then placed into his mouth and Andreas took the arrow removing tool from the bag. It resembled a pair of scissors with a hollow tube in the center. He sawed the arrow off several inches from the mans chest and discarded the fletching. The man groaned as he bit on the stick.

    “Brace yourself my friend.” Andreas said gently. He slid the hollow tube down over the shaft of the arrow and onto the wound. The man groaned loudly and began to flinch. Andreas had Batu hold his arms over his head and hold him still. Felipe held the mans legs. He moved the scissor tips close together and slid them down into the wound along the shaft. The man screamed loudly and continued to bite on the stick.

    Andreas felt the tips hit the edge of the arrows bladed tip. He gently tapped and pivoted the tips until he found the flat back edges of the tip. He then opened the scissor tips by spreading his fingers out in the holes on the handle. This opened the flesh and allowed the arrow to be pulled out. The man spit the stick out and breathed heavily. Andreas bound the wound tightly with a clean dressing and bandage.

    Felipe asked Batu to please start a fire in the small stove.

    “It is much too hot in here for a fire.” the princess said.

    Felipe just looked at her and said nothing. Batu soon had a fire burning in the stove. Five more men with arrows were brought in and the procedure was repeated. The last man had the arrow imbedded deep in his back. Andreas struggled to remove it but it was lodged into the bone of his spine. He and Felipe both tried pulling at the same time and when the arrow finally gave, the man let out a loud gasp and stopped breathing. Felipe rolled him over and closed the man’s eyes looking down at him.

    “Must we witness this?” Victoria asked.

    “These are my men and they come first to me. This is the cleanest area of the ship. I will ask you not to interrupt us again.” Felipe replied.

    The men continued to come in, one had his hand severed, it was only hanging on by a piece of skin. Andreas laid a flat instrument with a wooden handle in the fire and quickly cut the small piece of flesh that was still attached, he then dropped the hand into a bucket. It landed with a dull thud and the women averted their eyes. They had no pity for these pirates at first, but as the men continued to come in and as they saw their suffering and the gentle way that Andreas and Felipe cared for them they began to see them as just men who were in pain.

    Andreas had Batu hold the mans arm down and went to the hearth. The flat sided instrument was now orange hot and glowed. “Prepare yourself.” Andreas said and he held the hot iron against the stump. The flesh sizzled and popped as the smoke rose. The smell of burning flesh filled the room and the man screamed loudly. Once the wound was cauterized the bleeding stopped. Andreas then bound the stump in bandages.

    Jean Pierre walked into the room and said that there were no more wounded.

    “Batu, sit down.” Andreas said gently. “Brace yourself.” Batu sat facing Victoria and once again the instrument was taken out of the fire. The hot orange steel was pressed against the side of his head cauterizing the wound where his ear had been. Batu winced but did not blink, he stared at Victoria who turned her head.

    “I need a drink.” Andreas said.

    “Make that two.” Batu replied.

    “Three” said Felipe. “Would the ladies care for some brandy?” he asked looking at them.

    “I would.” Angelica said. “After seeing all of that I could use a drink to settle my nerves.”

    “Princess?” Felipe inquired as he smiled at her.

    “No thank you.” she replied icily.

    Felipe poured them all some brandy and they drank. Andreas collapsed into a chair and wiped the sweat from his brow. Jean Pierre offered him a clean white handkerchief which he took and patted his forehead. Felipe extinguished the fire and poured another brandy for everyone.

    Felipe sipped his brandy and looked at the women. “I will offer you the comfort of the sofas in my cabin tonight if you wish. I trust that you will not try to slit my throat as I sleep.”

    “I would rather just sleep on the deck.” the princess said as she stared at him.

    “As you wish, the deck is hard and the sofas are soft but I will provide you some blankets. It gets cold on the deck at night.”

    “Have them brought up to us.” she said as she rose and walked toward the door.

    “Princess?” Felipe said. She turned around and he continued. “You have no servants here. The blankets are in that cabinet if you want them.”

  8. Five days into the journey they reached the shipping lanes. Andreas had used a sextant in the pre dawn darkness and now turned with his compass sailing west toward the mainland. If a ship loaded with gold and silver was leaving the new colonies, they would meet them face to face. Flying a Spanish flag, they had nothing to fear.

    At the end of the day they had made no contact and turned back to the east. Inbound ships would not hold precious cargo like gold or silver. They would be laden with flour, salt, cloth and building supplies. These items could be sold but the gold coming from the nearby coast was what they needed to pay the men. They continued to sail west for two days and two nights, then turned back to the east.

    Two days later they had still not sighted another ship. Felipe was getting impatient. Andreas explained that it may take weeks to make contact. “It is a large ocean Felipe.” He said. “Voyages to and from Spain take a lot of planning and are not approached lightly. We have only been at sea for nine days and nights now, a ship will come, be patient.”

    Again they turned back to the east toward Spain. At dawn on the second day there was a sharp knock on Felipe’s cabin door. “Come” he said.

    Jean Pierre stepped into the room smiling and said “Mi Capitan, we have a galleon approaching from the east. She is not riding very low in the water, obviously she is not carrying much cargo.”

    Felipe jumped out of bed, hurriedly dressed and pulled on his boots. Together they climbed the stairs and Felipe took his spyglass out and surveyed the ship. He counted the cannons “She is our equal, she has as many cannons as we do.” He said.

    Andreas said “Yes, but they will think that we are friendly forces, they will not be on their guard. We will run up an escort flag, they will think that we are an escort patrol to guard their entry into port against pirates. Her cannons, shot, powder and small arms will fetch a healthy price, cannons are hard to come by. We will kill all of her men, take her guns and scuttle her.”

    Felipe quickly agreed and sent his lieutenants to their stations. The only ones left on deck were wearing the Spanish uniforms. The ship became a flurry of activity, the battle plans were already made and the cannons were loaded with grapeshot. Instead of cannon balls they held hundreds of lead balls the size of grapes. The cannons were packed and raised to their maximum elevation but the doors were left down to avoid arousing suspicion.

    They made a wide turn so they could come alongside of her. On board the Luisa Captain Vasquez also eyed the other ship with his spyglass. His first mate Pedro was standing beside him, he said “She is making a turn to come alongside of us.”

    “Yes.” Vasquez said as he continued to look. “She is flying the Spanish flag as well as an escort flag, pirate activity must be very heavy if they are sending escorts out this far.”

    “It would be good to have an escort with the princess on board.” Pedro replied.

    “Yes, but we still must use caution. She is of our new class, there are no pirate vessels capable of taking such a large ship in battle. She also shows no signs of repair but we still must be on our guard. The princess is in our care. Order men onto the mast platforms with bows and bring half of the crew up on decks. Advise them to be alert”

    “Aye Captain.” Pedro said and he wheeled about shouting orders. Men scurried up the rat lines to man the battle platforms on the foremast and the mainmast. Guns were not allowed to be fired from the platforms because sparks could set the sails on fire. They pulled their bows up on ropes and made themselves ready. The deck soon became crowded with soldiers holding small arms.

    Victoria and Angelica approached Captain Vasquez and looked at the ship approaching. They had not passed any ships and she was curious. When he saw her Vasquez said “Your highness, I must ask you to go below for your safety until I can determine that everything is safe.”

    “Is that not a Spanish flag that they are flying? And is that not a Spanish ship?” she asked.

    “Yes, they are flying a Spanish flag and things should be fine, but until I determine their intentions I must ask you to please, go below. I will send for you as soon as we know that it is safe for you to come up.”

    “This has been a very long and boring voyage, and now that one of my Father’s ships approaches you wish to send me below?” she asked.

    “Please your Highness, just for a few moments. As soon as I ascertain that all is safe I will send for you immediately. I and these men are sworn to protect you.” Vasquez looked at her with a kind smile.

    “Very well, I will be waiting.” And with that she turned and went below.

    Aboard the Vengeance Andres saw the other ship taking battle stations, this was unusual for a friendly ship approaching. They were not in a common pirate sloop or a frigate, something told him that there must be something of value on that ship. They turned into the wind and made a long, slow approach to come alongside.

    Now on a parallel course they slowly closed the distance until they were 15 meters from her on her starboard side. Andreas was wearing the Captains uniform and went to the rail. Smiling he shouted a friendly greeting. Several of his men smiled and waved as well but most acted as if they were simply going about their business of sailing the ship at close quarters.

    “Hola! Andreas said, “How was your journey?”

    “Very long and tiring. “ Vasquez replied. “Why are escort ships sailing this far to the east?”

    “Pirate activity has been very heavy. They are roaming in bands of four ships and have attacked three ships just this week. The Viceroy has standing orders that all available vessels act as escorts into port, we are the outermost escort. What is your destination?” Andreas continued to smile as he spoke to Vasquez. It seemed to be working, Vasquez was relaxing somewhat.

    “Veracruz.” Vasquez replied.

    “You still have eight days and nights of voyage until you reach Veracruz. We are carrying extra rations of rum and fresh fruit as ordered. The Viceroy wants to assure that you have a pleasant voyage. Would you care for a few kegs of rum and some bananas?”

    A cheer went up from the men on the Luisa and Vasquez smiled and waved his hand at them for silence. “I would be a foolhardy man to turn down such an offer. My men have toiled on this voyage. Yes, we would welcome some rum and fresh fruit.”

    “Very well then my friend, stand by.” Andreas shouted. He shouted orders and two of his men went fore and aft with grappling hooks attached to ropes. The ships inched closer as the men aboard the Luisa crowded the rails to secure the ships and take on the supplies. Below decks on the Vengeance the men were peering through the small cracks alongside of the cannon doors. The grappling hooks were their signal, as soon as the hooks were secure on the other ship and the order was given they were to throw the doors open and fire.

    Jean Pierre was crouching in the middle of the gun deck peering through a crack on a cannon door. All of the men on the gun deck had their eyes on him. As the grappling hooks sailed through the air and looped over the rails of the Luisa he raised his right hand over his head. The men on the cannons were tense and ready. On deck men strained to pull the ships together and they began to move toward each other. When they were at a distance of twelve meters Jean Pierre quickly dropped his hand.

    There were two men per cannon, one pulled the ropes and the cannon doors slammed open. The others quickly shoved the cannons forward to the stops and dropped in the chocks. The men who had opened and secured the doors touched off the fuses, they were trimmed very short, almost to the cannons.

    The men aboard the Luisa were stunned and taken totally by surprise. Mere seconds ago men were smiling at them and offering them rum. Now they stared down the black maws of many cannons aimed right at them, at the rails not the waterline. Before they could even react all of the guns fired at once with a tremendous blast that rocked the Vengeance toward her port side.

    The effect of the grapeshot at such a close range was devastating. The wooden rail blasted away in a rain of splinters and the men standing at the rails were vaporized into a fine, pink spray. The ones at the front were completely blown away from the thighs up and those behind them were mortally wounded, they fell in rows screaming.

    Batu, Jean Pierre and Ajamu ran up on deck followed by their men. Andreas was on the bow and he quickly vaulted over his handrail followed by his squadron. Batu and his men took the foredeck from the foremast to the mainmast. Jean Pierre took his squadron amidships back to the mizzenmast. Felipe and Ajamu stormed the stern with their men.

    Men were pouring up the stairs from below decks on the Luisa firing small arms as they came. A hail of arrows was coming from the platforms and fire was being returned on them from the sharpshooters aboard the Vengeance. Men screamed and fell from the platforms as well as the men aboard the Vengeance fell, taking arrows in their chest and necks.

    A ferocious battle was under way. The men of the Luisa were caught off guard, the crew of the Vengeance had a tactical advantage as they were spread out evenly along the deck. Still men poured onto the deck, tripping over the bodies of their fallen comrades. Batu looked forward and Andreas was being overwhelmed as more men poured out from below. He and his team of men fought their way forward.

    Batu was screaming loudly, his face was painted with lines of white war paint. He had a sword in one hand and a machete in the other, he looked very formidable. As the men on the foredeck turned and saw him, they tried to retreat only to be stabbed from behind by Andreas and his men. They did not want to turn their back on Batu and were being cut down from behind as well as from their front. Caught between the two forces the tide turned and the bow of the ship was quickly secured.

    “Forward!” Andreas cried and pointed his sword amidships where the main stairwell was. Jean Pierre and his squad were in dire straits against a seemingly never ending tide of soldiers that struggled to make it up the stairs. Their small arms exhausted, the men below were trying to storm the decks by the sheer force of their numbers. As soon as a man made it to the top of the stairs Jean Pierre would lance him with his sword then kick him down the stairwell impeding their progress.

    The men below kept having to drag the dead clear of the stairs before they could advance. When they did, arrows pieced them from the two archers that Jean Pierre had stationed on either side of the stairwell. There was much screaming and moaning below decks as men were dying from their wounds.

    Andreas and Batu along with their men fought their way amidships and joined Jean Pierre and his men. “Let them come up! We cannot kill them down there!” Andreas shouted. Jean Pierre and his archers stepped aside and men came running up the stairs into a waiting circle of men from the Vengeance. Surrounded as they were, they still came up and fought bravely.

    On the stern Felipe and Ajamu also faced many men pouring up the stairwell. No ship should have this many soldiers thought Felipe but he did not care. He was a madman, slashing and thrusting, killing them as fast as they approached. He surged forward into a group of them as Ajamu’s men flanked them from both sides. The battle was fierce but Felipe and Ajamu’s hatred of the Spaniards was fuel on the fire.

    The Spaniards had been taken by surprise and they fought because it was their duty. Felipe and his men had revenge and a lot of hate in their hearts, they fought much more fiercely. Soon the tide of men coming up the stairs slowed and then stopped. What remained of them were formed in a tight group against the starboard rail. The onslaught continued and soon there were only three left.

    Felipe screamed out “Get back! They are mine!”

    His men stood back and Felipe quickly lanced one of them in the side of his neck. The man went down and he turned his blade on the remaining two. One was wearing a lieutenants uniform and he got behind the last remaining man holding him in front of him as a shield. With his arms held he was killed quickly and fell to the deck.

    The remaining man dropped his sword and raised his hands. “I surrender. “ he said.

    “There is no surrender and there will be no quarter given, pick up your weapon!” Felipe told him.

    “I surrender, you would not kill an unarmed man would you?” the man pleaded.

    “My father was unarmed when the Spaniards killed him. This is for my father!” He drove his blade deep into the man’s heart and quickly withdrew it. The man clenched his chest and Felipe kicked him hard in the center of his chest sending him over the rail splashing into the sea. Felipe wheeled around breathing hard. He had the look of a wild man as he whirled his head around looking for more of the enemy. There were none, the sounds of battle were all but gone. A few men still screamed on the bow.

    Felipe called out “Ajamu! Take your men forward! The rest of you follow me below decks. They ran down the stairs to the gun deck and he looked forward. Jean Pierre and his men stood amidships. The gun deck was littered with dead Spaniards. Jean Pierre removed his hat and made a deep, sweeping bow.

    “The ship is ours Felipe.” he said.

    “Down below to the cargo deck, let us make sure that none are still alive!” Felipe said.

    The men went below and did find several men hiding among the cargo, there was no mercy for cowards. Satisfied that the ship was secure, Felipe went back up to the stern and Ajamu came up to him. “Felipe, this you must see for yourself.” he said.

    They walked forward where all of the men were gathered taunting someone. He made his way through them and saw Batu with his back to him standing several feet in front of his men. As he stepped around him he saw two, finely dressed women. One had long, curly blonde hair and held a bloody sword out in front of her. The other was slightly taller with brown hair and she held a black horse by its reins.

    He turned to his men and said “All of you men cannot subdue two women?”

    “She is pretty good.” Andreas said. “She cut Batu’s ear off.”

    Felipe wrinkled his brow and looked at Batu, sure enough his right ear was shaved off cleanly against his head. He had a very angry look about him as Felipe studied his wound. His deep voice boomed out “I have never killed a woman, but this may well be my first.” He glared at the woman with the sword.

    Felipe slid his sword into his scabbard and stepped forward. The woman with the golden hair took a stance with her sword. She did look like she was very familiar with a blade.

    “Please, drop your weapon.” he said.

    “I am the Princess Victoria, daughter of Philip the third, the King of Spain. You will release us and get off of this ship!” she said.

  9. After spell checking time and time again, I printed my manuscript and had my wife read it, then I read it. Still, after ordering the proof, I still found typos. Even a good program like "Open Office" which catches a lot more mistakes than "Word" misses some like "loose" instead of "lose" because both are proper words. I love the work of Gary Jennings who is professionally edited and still catch a few. For most self published authors a professional editor is out of their means but they should try as best that they can to get is as good as they can before and after submission. Createspace allows you to continue to edit after submission.



    Early the next morning Jeanne Pierre was drinking coffee when Batu approached him with the rolled up leather pouch. He asked “Jean Pierre, will you instruct me how to do something?”

    “Of course my friend, what is it?”

    Batu unrolled the leather pouch to reveal a straight razor, a cup with a piece of soap in it, a small brush, a small pair of scissors and a strap to sharpen the razor on. “I want to shave, I have not seen my face since I was a young boy.”

    “Allow me, please, just sit here.” He took the scissors and started trimming away the beard. He then expertly sharpened the razor on the strap and added a small amount of water to the cup and whipped it into a thick lather. He dabbed the lather on Batu’s face and began to quickly but carefully draw the razor across his face and wipe it clean.

    Soon he was done and Batu felt his now clean shaven face. “It is so smooth now.” he said.

    “Yes, and you look a lot younger. May I make a suggestion?” Jean Pierre asked.

    “Of course.” Batu said, still rubbing his chin.

    “I think that we should shave your head as well, many pirates have their head shaved, it will make you look even more intimidating.”

    Batu nodded his head and said “Yes, yes, shave it as well please.”

    Soon he was clean shaven on his head as well. He called out to his wife Shayla and she gave him a surprised look. She hurried over and looked at him. “You are so handsome now that I can see your face! You look much younger also.” She smiled at him and ran her hand along his chin and face. “And it is as soft as a babies’ bottom.”

    Felipe walked up and gave Batu a quizzical look. Batu just smiled and rubbed his head. “I like it.” Felipe said and walked on.

    For the next few days all of the men busied themselves building new living quarters. These men had no wives so they were happy with barracks. Long huts with a central walkway down the center. Poles ran up to the roof on either side of the walkway and hammocks were attached to the poles and the walls. There were large windows and the sea breeze provided good ventilation. After two weeks they were finished.

    Andreas was studying a nautical map at a table in the main pavilion when Felipe walked up with a cup of coffee. Felipe sat beside him and Andreas moved the map toward him. He ran his finger along the lines on the map. “These are the main shipping lanes to and from Spain. At this point, there is still much traffic, the waters are heavily patrolled for pirates. We need to sail out to this point, five days voyage from land to intercept ships without being detected.”

    Felipe blew on the hot, black liquid and studied the map. “I agree Uncle, it is time that we sailed.”

    Andreas smiled and nodded toward the men. “Well then Captain, prepare your men.”

    Felipe got up and rang the bell that was hanging from a pole. All of the men and the women assembled in the pavilion and sat down. Felipe looked around at them all, a fine crew over one hundred strong. Well seasoned sailors and fighters, he was pleased to have such a strong force.

    “Good morning. We have the living quarters built and it is time for our pay.” He smiled. “Today we will begin making preparations to sail tomorrow at dawn. Our ship is loaded with provisions, we need only lay aboard some fresh fruit, vegetables, chickens and rum”

    “Plenty of rum!” Batu shouted and this brought a laugh.

    Felipe smiled and went on. “Andreas has the shipping lanes marked out and we will sail west, northwest for five days to clear any patrols from the shore. There we will wait for our quarry. Any ship flying a Spanish flag”

    Jean Pierre interrupted him with a loud cough and blew his nose on his handkerchief loudly.

    Another round of laughter went up. Felipe smiled and said “Excuse me, any ship flying Spanish or French flag will feel the shudder of our cannons and the bite of our steel. Any and all bounty will be evenly distributed among the crew.”

    Jean Pierre removed his hat and made a sweeping bow. “Merci” he said.

    “We will need everyone’s help loading provisions onto the raft and storing them on our ship. Andreas will direct you.” Felipe turned toward Andreas and whispered something in his ear. Andreas smiled and nodded his head. He gave him a hard slap on the back and Felipe left toward the lagoon.

    The women began to pick green bananas that would ripen slowly. Mangos and papayas were packed into baskets. Tor and Ajamu ran through the chicken coop catching chickens bringing laughs from everyone who went by. They placed the chicken in cages while the wives also packed grain for them to eat.

    These baskets and crates were walked down to the waters edge where they saw Felipe hanging over the bow of the ship with a rope attached to a swing like seat. He was just finishing painting over the name of the ship with her new name “Vengeance”. All of the men smiled and nodded in approval. By early evening the ship was well stocked and ready to sail.

    Everyone gathered back at the pavilion and Andreas began going over assignments as to who would man which sails, cannons and which areas of the ship. He appointed Jean Pierre, Batu and Ajamu as lieutenants. Batu looked surprised and he looked at Shayla, she literally beamed at him. She was so proud of him, just months before he had been a slave, now he was a free fighting man, a lieutenant. As officers, they would each be responsible for a certain area of the ship during battle. They would also lead the men in their squads when they stormed the other ship Andreas explained.

    It was all becoming quite real now to them. They looked at the drawings as Andreas went over battle stations and attack plans. Andreas had been a seasoned Captain in the King’s Navy and had fought many battles, they listened and learned quickly. He had a good crew and the other men would need minimal briefing, most had sailed the sea all of their lives. Satisfied that everyone knew their positions, they began supper.

    The men all went and gathered firewood for a huge fire in celebration that night while the women busied themselves cooking. Three large pigs were slaughtered and were cooking on spits over fires. A lot of fruit was laid out on the large tables in the pavilion. Torches were lit as the dusk approached and supper was served. The men ate heartily and drank rum. As the night fell they lit the large pile of wood and made a huge fire.

    Shayla took Batu’s hand, she walked him over to Felipe and Andreas and sat with them. She looked at them both with her large brown eyes and said “You will take care of my husband and see him return safely to me?” She asked.

    “Oh come now woman!” Batu protested “I can take care of myself. My father was a warrior as was his father.”

    She looked at him and said “Yes, but you have always been a farmer up to this point, tomorrow you will sail into battle and I am worried about you.”

    Andreas asked Batu to stand which he did. Andreas rose and went to stand beside him. He looked up at Batu a full head and a half taller than he and then he looked at Shayla. He smiled and said “I will look after the boy.” Batu laughed loudly as did Shayla. He was really a huge, intimidating looking man. “Please, sit back down Batu.” Andreas said.

    He then looked at Shayla and said “I have trained Batu with the sword, bow and lance. He is as fine of a warrior as I have ever seen. I myself would not want to do battle with him. If the truth be told, he will probably save me but yes, I will always cover my brother’s back and Batu is my brother.”

    “That makes me feel a lot better Andreas.” Shayla said and smiled. Batu looked at Felipe and rolled his eyes, Felipe just shrugged and smiled.

    Andreas looked at his cup and said “Well, it appears that someone has drank my rum, I must get some more.” he got up and walked back to the pavilion.

    Little by little, the men all went to the barracks and Andreas, Felipe and Batu were left sitting by the fire. Felipe spoke “So Batu, are you ready for this?”

    Batu looked at him and said. “You have seen the scars on my back have you not? They would bullwhip us simply because they got drunk and wanted to show off in front of their friends. They sold my children and raped my wife. Do you think that you are the only one who wants justice Felipe?”

    “Exactly why I chose you my friend. Few hate the Spaniards as much as slaves do.” Felipe said.

    “Former slaves, but now free men .” Batu said and raised his cup.

    “Free men.” Felipe and Andreas said, they clicked their cups together and drank the rest of their rum.

    Andreas said “Well, we have a long voyage before us. I am going to get some sleep now, goodnight.” With that he got up and walked toward his hut.

    “I think I will turn in as well.” Felipe said.

    “Sleep well my friend, we shall have vengeance.” Batu said with a smile. They both walked to their cabins and the night was silent except for the birds calling out.

    At Dawn Felipe went to the pavilion to find Andreas drinking coffee and laughing with the men as they traded sea tales. He joined them and ate breakfast. After all had eaten it was time to depart. They kissed and hugged their wives and promised to return. They all walked down to the shore, bid their wives goodbye and swam out to the ship. Ratlines were hung over the rails and they climbed up the lines and then pulled them up.

    The women watched from the shore as the well seasoned crew spread out to their positions. The sails on the bowsprit and the mizzenmast were unfurled and the anchors were weighed. The sails were then tacked into position and they snapped into the strong breeze. The mighty ship began a slow turn toward the mouth of the lagoon. Felipe turned the wheel as the men lowered more sails, expertly running up the ratlines to the crow’s nest. They shimmied out on the yardarms and released more sails.

    She was under way, Batu joined Felipe at the stern. He looked back at the shore and waved to his wife. Jean Pierre walked up and joined them, he removed his hat and waved it at the women. Shayla and the other women waved and shouted from the shore.

    “Do not look too long at her messier, it is bad luck. Jean Pierre said.

    “I will make my own luck. “ Batu said with a smile.

    “I like that.” Jean Pierre said.

  11. Fast forward some more, they just sold the goods at the pirate settlement....

    Felipe’s crew were amazed at the amount of gold reales that were changing hands. The raft emptied quickly and the crowd dispersed with their goods. Felipe counted out the money and divided it between them in a generous enough quantity to make the purchases that the women wanted with plenty left over. There was enough of his and Andreas’s share combined with the reales from the Captain’s trunk to hire a new crew. A lot of the men no doubt had been ashore for a while now and had drank most of their money away.

    Tortuga, being a pirate stronghold was a mixture of all races and nationalities. Felipe told the women that they would be safe to roam the village and make their purchases, there were no slaves or masters here. He asked Batu, Ajamu and Tor to accompany him and Andreas as they got the new recruits. The women happily scampered off down the dirt street and disappeared into shops and markets. The five men walked down the dirt street toward a noisy tavern.

    Felipe smiled, looked up at Batu and asked “Have you ever been in a tavern before?”

    Batu just lowered his eyelids and gave him a flat expression.

    “Just stick with me and do as I do, you will be fine.” Felipe said jauntily.

    “I feel so safe now, knowing that you will be there to protect me.” Batu said. They walked into the tavern and into a wall of noise. Three drunk men were singing loudly being cheered and booed by an equally drunken crowd. It was indeed a motley crew, all of them had scars and a several of them were missing limbs, hands or feet, a few had a patch on one eye.

    When they went to the bar an overweight barmaid with her large breasts spilling almost out of her low cut blouse asked “What will it be gentlemen?”

    “Rum for my friends and I” Felipe replied. When their drinks were served, Felipe turned his back to the bar resting his elbows on it. His four companions did the same. They surveyed the crowd. A loud and celebrating group, many of them looked fierce and he knew that all were good fighters and sailors.

    The drunken men finally finished their song and much laughter and clapping erupted. In a corner four men were engaged in a game of cards. One man, the largest was getting loud and angry banging his fist on the table and screaming at another. Felipe nodded toward them and they all moved to a close table and sat down. “Look at this character.” Felipe said. Three of the men, including the large, angry one were typical of the crowd, unkempt with shaggy beards and dirty clothes.

    The man with all of the winnings in front of him had a neatly trimmed red beard and moustache. His long, curly red hair was clean and he wore a black cavalier hat at a cocky, rakish angle on his head. The hat had one side pinned up with a silver emblem that represented crossed swords. A feather was sticking up from the hatband. His white shirt was clean and had ruffles down the breast as well as at the cuffs. He dabbed at his nose nonchalantly with a white handkerchief that had lace along it’s edges and stared calmly at the large screaming man with his eyelids half lowered over bright blue eyes.

    Batu said “He looks more like a woman. We need sailors and fighters, not a pretty boy.”

    Felipe said “He is obviously very shrewd, look at his winnings.” He had a large pile of reales in front of him. “His manner of dress suggests that he is also very meticulous.”

    “I think it suggests something else.” Batu said and wiggled his eyebrows up and down.

    Andreas added “He certainly isn’t showing any fear. The other man stands a foot taller than he.”

    The large man was complaining that the red haired man had taken all of his money and the others agreed. The man calmly raked all of the reales into a leather pouch which he then tied and secured it to his belt. Taking a puff on his thin cigar he blew the blue smoke toward the ceiling while the other three men glared at him.

    He spoke with a French accent and in a cultured voice. “Well then messieurs if I have taken all of your money, then I guess that this game is over.”

    The large man shouted “You must give me a chance to win back some of my money! I cannot even buy a drink now!”

    The man calmly looked at him and said “How can you gamble with no money? You played and you lost. So if you will excuse me now, I need another drink, I will buy you each one as well” As he reached for his handkerchief that was laying on the table, the large man grabbed his hand roughly and pulled it toward him. When he did, three aces fell out of the handkerchief onto the table.

    “You French bastard! You have been cheating us all this time!” The large man screamed.

    The Frenchman replied “Oui messier, for over an hour now, you are as stupid as you are fat and ugly.” He yanked his hand away and the large man stood up and threw the table to the side. The Frenchman’s sword was already out and he took a professional stance. All three of the men drew their swords. The bar fell silent as everyone watched.

    Batu asked “Should we help him? He is outnumbered.”

    “No, let us watch and see how he handles himself first.” Andreas said.

    The large man attacked first using more strength than skill. The Small Frenchman easily sidestepped and parried all of his wild swings. The other two men spread to either side of him to flank him. He kicked his chair out of the way and got his back into the corner so they could not surround him. He took two steps back.

    “Look” Andreas said “He is luring him in.“

    “Just as you taught me to do” Felipe replied.

    The Frenchman arrogantly took a puff on his cigar as his blue eyes slid from one man to the other. His sword was as steady as a rock out before him. He blew a smoke ring toward the ceiling.

    The large man knew he was no match for this man with a sword. But he thought that it was a mistake for the man to back into the corner, he now had nowhere to retreat. He fell for the bait and lunged forward, making a thrust toward his chest. He was overextended and off balance. The Frenchman sidestepped the thrust and stepped in toward the man. Using the man’s own forward momentum he grabbed the large man’s wrist and pulled him toward him. Stepping behind him his other arm went around the man’s neck and he easily pivoted the man around in front of him as a shield

    At that moment, both of the other men made a thrust and both of their swords sank deeply in the large man’s chest. He cried out loudly and blood began to gurgle from his mouth immediately. The Frenchman kicked the large man square in the middle of his back sending him crashing to the floor. Before the man even hit the floor, he sank his sword deep into the center of one of the other men’s chest and pulled it out. Blood spurted from the mans chest and he held his hands over the wound as he went to his knees.

    The Frenchman stepped over the large man, now dead on the floor toward his only remaining adversary. This man made the mistake of looking at his kneeling friend who was dying on the floor. Before he could look back the Frenchman made a hard, precise upward thrust. The tip of his sword entered right below the man’s breast bone, sliced through his heart and exited the left side of his neck.

    “That was a good stick” Felipe said.

    “A very good stick.” Andreas agreed.

    The blood spurted out of either side of his blade and then he quickly removed it. The blood spurted from his neck in a geyser and the man fell to the floor with a large pool of blood spreading out. The Frenchman wiped the blood from his sword on the dead man’s shirt at his feet and slid his blade back into it’s scabbard. He had killed all three of them in less than two minutes. He calmly turned his table and chair back upright and sat back down motioning to the barmaid for another drink.

    “What do you think now?” Felipe asked and looked at Batu. Batu just smiled and nodded his head. Felipe got up and walked toward the man. Men were dragging the dead men out of the bar by their heels leaving a bloody swath behind them. A woman threw a bucket of water on the trails and began to mop. The noise level slowly resumed in the bar.

    Felipe said “May I buy you a drink?”

    The Frenchman smiled and said “I never turn down a free drink, please have a seat. My name is Jean Pierre François.” He extended his hand and shook Felipe’s hand with a strong grip.

    Felipe introduced himself and asked him if he minded if his friends joined them “Not at all, please call them over” the man said with a smile. Felipe motioned to the others and they all introduced themselves. The drinks arrived and Jean Pierre raised his glass, they all tapped glasses and he took a slow sip.

    Felipe asked “ So Jean Pierre, what is your profession?”

    “I am a blade for hire, a soldier of fortune.” the man said.

    Felipe looked at Andreas who smiled and nodded his head. “You handle yourself very well, do you have any problem killing Spaniards?”

    The man drank the rest of his rum in one long, slow drink, patted his lips with his handkerchief and replied “I would much rather kill the French, but Spaniards will do just as well.”

    Felipe explained that they recently procured a large ship and were in need of sailors and fighting men who were willing to attack Spanish vessels. The Frenchman looked at him and asked “What will be our share of the bounty?”

    Andreas asked “What is your pay now?”

    Jean Pierre said “Most captains of large ships keep half of the spoils, the remainder is divided among the crew. Our recent Captain kept forty percent and the rest was ours to divide evenly.”

    Andreas looked at Felipe and smiled. Felipe said “Every man on this crew will get an equal portion, including the captain. We are all equal in our pay.”

    Jean Pierre raised his eyebrows in surprise. “That is quite a generous offer, no Captain of his own ship pays like this, they own the ship.”

    Felipe spoke “We seek vengeance, not riches. We will take whatever they have, after we kill them. We need at least a hundred men who know how to sail and are quick with a sword. Can you help us to recruit such men?”

    Jean Pierre smiled and said “With an offer of pay equal to the Captain? It will be no problem. I know all of these men and there are two other taverns in town.”

    “Choose only the best swordsmen.” Andreas said. With that, Jean Pierre stood, took off his hat and made a sweeping bow. He then started talking to the men at other tables. The offer was accepted eagerly and soon men were coming to the table and introducing themselves. Felipe and Andreas asked them questions and the crew grew quickly.

    Batu looked at Felipe and said “There is something that I would like to purchase from the shops while we are here.”

    “Why are you telling me this? You are a free man, you do not need to check with me before you leave.”

    Batu smiled at him and said “A free man, I really like the sound of that. It is hard to get accustomed to this freedom.”

    “I am your friend, not your new master. You need never tell me where you are going again.” Felipe replied.

    Batu started to stand up and then sat back down. He opened his eyes very wide as he looked around the room with mock fear on his face. “Felipe, will you be alright if I leave you here alone without me to protect you from these ruffians?”

    Felipe smiled and said “I will try to maintain myself.”

    Andreas said “If you do not mind Batu, I will accompany you. You are not used to bargaining and I do not want anyone to try to take advantage of you.” Batu agreed and they rose and left the tavern.

    Most of the men in the tavern were now sitting nearby and Jean Pierre walked out of the door to the next tavern. Later Batu and Andreas returned, Batu was carrying a rolled up pouch of leather under his arm. After a few hours Jean Pierre returned with a large group of men. By noon there were one hundred and eight new men. They all walked together back to the raft where the women were waiting with baskets of their new purchases. Many of the men held kegs of rum on their shoulder.

    There was no way to load all of these men on their small ship so Felipe and Batu sent the rest of his small crew with the women back to their boat to sail home. The rest would make the march overland back to their village. He and Batu walked into the jungle with all of the men following them. It was almost dark when they arrived back at the village, the women had food cooking and fires burning.

    A large fire was burning in the center of the square and the women all were wearing bright, colorful new skirts and blouses. Batu admired how good his wife looked and said “That was money well spent.”

    She smiled and whirled around in front of him. She was very excited “We have been waiting for you, look at what else we bought.” She walked to a large basket and reached inside. She pulled out a drum. It was made of a hollowed out tree trunk with deerskin stretched across the top. She then pulled out two smaller ones that were attached together and a large one that was on the bottom. The men all cheered loudly and rushed up to examine the drums talking excitedly.

    Felipe asked Batu “What makes you so happy about drums?”

    “You do not understand Felipe.” Batu said “Our parents were captured in Africa and sold into slavery. Drums and tribal dances were a very important part of their culture and heritage. There were dances for everything, courtship, war, love, mourning and hunting. The dances were forbidden by our masters so late at night in the barn we would do these dances when the master was asleep. My father drew two circles on a small board and taught me to play the drums but we did it very quietly, not like this!” Batu pounded the drums loudly in a rhythmical beat.

    “War dance!” he cried out. He handed the drum to another man and got his lance. Eight of the men began to dance around the fire thrusting their lances in time with the drums. The women joined in twirling around and moving in time with the music. They were very graceful and stepped in time, it was a fast paced dance. Felipe watched fascinated as his friends celebrated.

    One by one the men peeled away from the dance with their lances out in front of them and sat down. The women continued to circle the fire looking at their husbands as they danced by. They made motions as if they were wiping tears from their eyes, some of them actually had tears streaming down their cheeks.

    “Why are they crying?” Felipe asked.

    “They know that we are going off to battle.” Batu replied.

    Shayla’s eyes stayed on Batu as she circled the fire for two more rounds and then they all began moving their heads back and forth together in unison, looking in every direction, they kept this up for several circles of the fire.

    “They are looking for you to return?” Felipe asked and Batu nodded his head.

    Their hands were clutched at their breasts and then their eyes and arms went skyward as they danced. “Praying for our safe return.” Batu explained.

    The women went back to the looking with their heads all moving in unison until one of them shouted loudly and pointed at her husband. He got up and threw his lance in the ground and joined the dance. One by one the husbands all joined in and then after a bit the dance was over and a new one began.

    The dancing and celebration lasted late into the night. Everyone ate fruit, stew and drank rum. Slowly, the fires burned down to embers and Andreas looked around. Felipe was not there. Andreas went to his cabin and he was not there either. He knew where the boy was. He walked to the edge of the lagoon. Felipe was there with a small fire looking at his new ship riding on her anchors.

    “Dreaming of adventure are you Felipe? “ Andreas asked.

    It took a few moments but Felipe said “No, I’m dreaming of vengeance.”

    Andreas sensed his feelings and quietly sat beside him by the fire. He said nothing, he just waited and watched the fire. The logs crackled and sent sparks dancing up into the night sky. The small waves rhythmically lapped at the shore and receded. Still Andreas waited, he could tell that the boy was troubled.

    Finally Felipe stole a glimpse at him and his eyes were wet. He had shed other men’s blood and feared no man but his heart was troubled. Andreas softly asked him “What is it Felipe?”

    Felipe looked out at the ship, took a deep breath and finally said “I miss my father.” His breath caught in his chest and the tears slid down his face. He tried to hold it back but he could not any longer. He dropped his head between his knees and wept quietly.

    Andreas understood. “I miss him too.“

    Again Felipe spoke. “They killed him for money! Those bastards! I swear to God almighty that I will kill every Spaniard who serves this King.”

    Andreas put his arm around him and said “And I will be by your side, always.”

  12. OK... I can't help myself, I'll go on. This first novel, "Vengeance a Pirate's Tale" is available in the Kindle version for 99 cents from my website at

    http://www.theratsnestweebly.com/index.html#/ in the "My store section. Where were we?....

    They gave the first ship a wide berth but still the guards took notice. “Look at this, she is sailing at night, that is unusual.” One said.

    “Mind your own business, our duty is to guard this ship.” Another said.

    “ I do not like this, Spanish warships do not sail from port at night. The opening to the harbor is narrow and treacherous. This does not seem right.” He said and got the lantern down from its hook. The large ship was broadside now at thirty yards and he waved the lantern and called out loudly. “Ahoy! What is your business? Why are you sailing at night?”

    The men crouched behind the rails had their arrows nocked and waited for the word. Andreas walked to the rail wearing a Spanish Captain’s uniform and said as quietly as he could to still be heard. “Silence you fool! This is a secret mission of the utmost urgency ordered by the King himself! Douse that lantern!”

    “I told you to mind your own business.” the other guard said.

    The guard with the lantern said “I still do not like this.” He then shouted out “Show me your papers authorizing this mission!” The men behind the rails all drew their bows to full draw but remained in place.

    “I will show you our blades if you shout out one more time and endanger the secrecy of this mission. The Viceroy himself is watching us depart from the shore!“ He pointed at the dark shoreline. Now, douse that lantern!” Andreas said as they continued to slip past.

    “Do not be a fool! You are going to get us all killed, beheaded!” The second guard whispered. Against his better judgment, the guard doused his lantern. The other two ships noticed the exchange of words but could not hear what was being said. The fact that the first ship cleared them was enough. They went back to drinking rum and playing cards, discipline was more lapse on the outer perimeter.

    The men hiding behind the rails relaxed their bows and the big ship slowly slipped out of the harbor under the crescent moon. As soon as they cleared the mouth of the harbor they unfurled all of her sails and tied them off. The big ship surged forward and even Andreas was impressed with her speed. “Even as large as she is, with this much sail she is very fast and handles very well, take the wheel Andreas.” Felipe said.

    “Yes, she is very responsive even without tacking the sails. Once we have enough men to tack the sails properly she will turn very sharply.” Andreas agreed.

    They sailed from Cuba back to their island home. The next morning the Harbor Master was sitting in his office drinking a cup of coffee when a large man strode angrily into his office. The man slammed his hands down on his desk and demanded “Where is my ship?”

    “What do you mean ‘where is your ship?’” “Where did you anchor it?”

    The man pointed out of the window at the large, vacant spot and said “Right there you fool! And now it is gone! Where is it?” he demanded.

    “How would I know? You are the Captain.” he replied.

    “Yes! But you are the Harbor Master! You are responsible for all of the ships in this harbor!” The Captain was getting angrier.

    “I am responsible for the documenting of all cargo that enters and leaves this port. Meticulous records are kept so that the King gets all of his shipments and no goods are stolen. I am not responsible for your ship, you are.” He stared flatly at the man.

    The man paced back and forth and then looked at him. “Do you think that the King will see it that way? This was a new galleon, one of the largest in the fleet. It cost an enormous amount of money and had yet to even fight. It was stolen from your port. I fear that the King will have both of our heads for this.”

    The harbor master thought about this for a few moments and then said “What was your Destination?”

    “Vera Cruz, we were to escort a treasure trove back to Spain.”

    “You loaded no cargo here?” he asked.

    “Only tobacco, sugar cane and provisions, food and water.” the Captain replied.

    “That is not valuable cargo like gold. There is no need for both of us to die. I will sign the ledger as you will. It will show that your ship sailed this morning. Go back and inform your men that it was taken by another Captain and crew as an emergency. They can board another ship. When she does not arrive in Vera Cruz as scheduled, they will all think her sunk possibly by pirates. It will remain as a mystery of the sea, there are many ships that never make port, these are treacherous times.”

    The Captain considered this and finally said “And what of me? I can never show my face in Spain again.”

    “You can simply board a ship for the new colonies and disappear into the settlements there, you can still live a long, good life. I hear that the local women there are very beautiful and the land is rich. With your skills, you can easily find work.” The harbor master looked at him while he thought about it. “The alternative is both of our heads on the chopping block.”

    “Sign the ledger.” the Captain said. The Harbor Master recorded the ship as leaving the harbor and signed it, the Captain signed below his name.

    Aboard the ship Felipe and Andreas had no idea that fortune had again smiled on them. Not only were they successful at stealing the ship, she was never reported as stolen. They sailed on toward Tortuga.



    Reaching their home on Tortuga they pulled into the sheltered lagoon, dropped the anchors and raised the sails. One of the women was on the shore standing vigil, she shouted a greeting, then ran back off toward the village. Soon, all of the women were wading out into the water shouting and waving. Securing the ship, they all dove in and swam to the shore.

    There was much hugging and kissing as the women greeted their men, they all marveled at the size of the ship. After walking back to the village the women began to prepare a large meal of pork stew with potatoes, vegetables and a lot of fresh fruit. After days at sea, the men ate hungrily.

    As they ate, they told the women of their need to recruit more men. Early the next day they would construct a raft, load it and their fishing boat with the tobacco and sugar cane that was in the hold of the ship. On the other side of the Island was a thriving community of pirates. There were taverns, shops and a market. They would tow the goods there and sell them, this would give them the money to hire more crewmen. The taverns would gladly buy the cane to make rum and the tobacco was also a very desired commodity.

    After eating, they all began to drink rum and celebrate their success. Batu spoke in his deep voice. “It is a good thing that I was there. I single handed, killed all of the guards on that ship while Felipe and the others quaked in fear. I think several of them shit in their pants as they witnessed my bravery.” A loud cry and laughter erupted from the men as the rum took hold. They each took personal credit for the defeat of the Spaniards. The number of guards grew from eight to over fifty and mighty sword battles took place.

    Felipe smoked a fine cigar, drank his rum and just smiled as the night wore on and the tales got taller. Andreas smoked his pipe and stirred the fire with a stick. The women were no fools but were enjoying the revelry and their good fortune. All of their men had returned unharmed and were home. They laughed as the men each tried to claim credit and outdo each other.

    Batu’s wife Shayla asked him “So, tell me Felipe, what really happened?”

    Felipe just grinned and said “It is as they are telling you, they all showed amazing bravery against the Spanish dogs and claimed a fine ship full of cargo that will line our pockets. The former captain also was kind enough to leave us a big chest full of reales to share”

    Batu’s wife looked at him and said “We have money? Our own money? We have never had money before! Good then, I need some new clothes, I have been washing and wearing this same skirt and blouse for weeks now.” She smiled at Batu and all of the other women began to talk happily about being able to actually buy new clothes.

    Batu said in a loud voice “Silence woman! I prefer you naked!” the men howled with laughter.

    She lowered her eyelids and said “It will be a very long time indeed until you see me naked if you do not buy me some new clothes tomorrow.” The men all hooted and goaded him until all of the other women stood up and followed Shayla’s lead. They all stood beside her and shouted that they too would not be naked unless promised new clothes.

    Andreas looked at Felipe and winked “Women, they are all the same, no?”

    The men all looked at each other. Ajamu said “We risk our lives and the first thing they want is new clothes. Very well then, we have never had any money before and we may as well spend it on our women as they are the most precious things in our lives.”

    Felipe laughed and said “A wise and well spoken choice of words my friend. The women can accompany us tomorrow to shop for clothes. It has been a long voyage and I have no wife so I am going to sleep now. You all did a very fine job and I am proud of each and every one of you. I now bid you all goodnight.” Felipe rose and sauntered toward his hut with a flask of rum in his hand. They all bid him a good night and soon he was fast asleep.

  13. As soon as the anchors lost their bite on the ocean bottom, the wind began to slowly turn the ship. As instructed, two men on either of the foremast sails tacked their sails, playing the small ship into the wind and she eased forward into the night. They gave the first ship a wide berth but the guards on board barely noticed. It was not unusual to see a fishing vessel coming in late at night. They passed the next two without incident.

    Now they were approaching the large warship. The men on the sails tacked them slightly into the wind and Felipe turned the wheel hard starboard. The rest of the men extended their poles and as they made contact there was not a sound. They lashed their small ship bow and stern and climbed up the rudder of the tall ship and over the rails. Felipe motioned for them to stay put and he very quietly slipped across the deck. Padding his way along from the stern to the bow , he found that the guards were posted evenly spaced, all four of them looking out toward the village.

    Guard duty was a boring affair and generally doled out as punishment, or to those who the Captain did not favor. They did not expect any threat yet were young and standing at their post. Felipe slipped back to his waiting men. He did not speak but used hand signals. He held up four fingers and pointed to where the guards were. He pointed at two men and pointed to the rear guard. To each guard he assigned two of his men. He then cupped his hand over his mouth, tilted his head back and drew his index finger across his throat.

    All his men smiled and nodded . He motioned for Batu to wait there and then he and six men stealthily crept along the deck He pointed out the guards and motioned for them to wait until they were all in position. Moving back to Batu they got into position. He looked down the line of his men. In the darkness he could only see the first pair but he knew they in turn could see the next. They watched him so when he was ready, he raised his hand and then dropped it. With knives drawn they crept up quietly behind the unsuspecting guards and caught them in a total surprise. They cupped their hands over their mouths, tilted their heads back and slit their throats.

    The hot blood spurted out very hard and the men struggled briefly, but with no oxygen going to their brains they soon fell slack. They eased the dead men down to the deck and met back amidships. They eased down the ladder to the lower deck. This was the gun deck, the cannons were all lined up, the men all smiled as they looked at them. Loud snoring made it easy to tell where the were other guards were sleeping on the gun deck. They could get a breeze through the cannon ports.

    They silently walked to where the men were sleeping. There was no time for mercy and no time for a fair fight. The men fell on them, covered their mouths and lanced them numerous times with their swords. They died quickly.

    In hushed tones they agreed to search the entire ship in pairs to see if anyone else was on board and to meet back here. They split up and quickly and quietly searched the entire ship. Felipe went toward the stern with Batu and Andreas, searching each compartment until he came to the Captains quarters. The door was locked but locks were crude and easy to pick. Andreas was a blacksmith, he had made such locks. He reached inside of his vest and produced a set of small picks, he was prepared for locked doors. He quietly slipped the rods into the lock and maneuvered them until the lock gave way. With swords drawn they opened the door and stepped in.

    The cabin was large and lavishly appointed but obviously unoccupied. They put their swords back into their scabbards and Felipe looked around. Oil lamps lit the large room. There was a large desk and a plush bed. A sitting area with padded chairs, a table and a bar stocked with fine liquor. A hand carved cigar box on the desk was filled with fine Cuban cigars. Rolls of nautical maps, a sextant and a good quality telescope were in a case. A large wooden chest was against one wall. Windows surrounded the quarters and gave a good view and a cross breeze that filled the room. Felipe said “Ah, my new quarters.” with a smile.

    Batu said “We do not own this ship yet, we must make our escape now.”

    “I agree” Felipe said and they went back to meet with the men.

    Ajamu had found an extra uniform for each of the soldiers and they busied themselves changing into the Spanish clothing. Batu tried on several pair of pants and they all were too short, coming only half way down his calves. The men all chuckled as he finally threw them aside. Felipe said “OK you overgrown bastard, once we get underway you just hide on deck and be ready with your bow.” They went silently up on deck and unfurled the two sails on the foremast and tacked them to pull away from the shore.

    Felipe and the rest of the crew went below decks and split into two groups. There were two anchors down and in such a sheltered port, they were not the large ones that were used in a storm. There was a large round wooden capstan with spokes emanating out from the center. He instructed them to grease the capstan, give him time to get to the stern anchor, then to turn the capstan reeling in the cable. He left eight men there and he and his other seven ran to the stern.

    With one man on each spoke, they heaved into the spokes with all of their strength. At first it did not give, Batu planted his feet far behind him and gave a mighty shove. The anchor pulled from the sand of the harbor and began to rise as they marched quickly in circles reeling it up. Finally it seated and they planted the steel stop into the hole on the base.

    As planned, they ran back up on deck and stationed themselves with their bows along the rail, crouching down out of sight. Felipe took the wheel and ran her hard to port as the men on the foremast let the sails fill with air, they snapped taut in the breeze and the mighty ship began a slow, steady turn out to sea.

    They gave the first ship a wide berth but still the guards took notice. “Look at this, she is sailing at night, that is unusual.” One said.

    “Mind your own business, our duty is to guard this ship.” Another said.

    “ I do not like this, Spanish warships do not sail from port at night. The opening to the harbor is narrow and treacherous. This does not seem right.” He said and got the lantern down from its hook. The large ship was broadside now at thirty yards and he waved the lantern and called out loudly. “Ahoy! What is your business? Why are you sailing at night?”

  14. Felipe looked at the large ship swaying on it’s anchors and tried to count the men that he saw on her decks. He only saw four men posted on the deck. A cook came up and threw a bucket of slop over the side. After a few hours, one of the men went below and four other men came up to relieve those on deck.

    The night fell over the harbor and surrounding town and lanterns slowly lit on the ships and the shoreline. The stars became clear as the sky darkened and a crescent moon rose slowly in the sky. Felipe rethought all of his plans. Batu snored heavily nearby but most of the men were not able to sleep with nervous anticipation. They had been raised never to stand up to a Spaniard, to actually kill one was an alien thought. Other than their escape from Hispanolia they had never rebelled. But, they all had whip marks on their backs and had seen their women raped by these hated bastards so killing them was eagerly looked forward to. Andreas honed his sword and then his dagger.

    As the moon slowly rose into the night sky the noise from the harbor increased as the taverns filled up. It seemed like ages, but little by little the lights went out in the city until only a few remained. The lanterns on the ships still burned but they only gave off enough light to see when walking on the decks. From the position of the moon Felipe estimated that it was well past midnight and he made a pot of strong coffee.

    He awoke Batu and the few others who had fallen asleep and they drank the strong liquid and spoke in hushed tones. Felipe said “I will be at the helm so it is very important that you tack the foremast well. We want a slow approach so we will only use the sails on the foremast. When we get close I need two men on each sail’s rigging. As you tack the sail I will swing her stern around and then the rest of you men be ready with the poles. We will tie off to her and board her quietly. There is no time for swordplay nor do we need the noise. We must slip up behind them and slit their throats.”

    Batu smiled. “I like that idea, but why do we not also eliminate the guards on the outer ships? That way they cannot sound and alarm.”

    Felipe looked at the three ships between them and the large one “Too risky, all it would take is one shout from one of them. No, we will slip past them, the guards are probably drunk or asleep at this hour, angry that their shipmates are drinking and tasting the women ashore. We will take the ship and steer as far away from them as we can as we clear the harbor. ”

    Felipe looked at his small circle of men. Their dark faces looked formidable and their eyes shone in anticipation of their daring act. “If they call out to us as we pass on the way out, you men keep your backs turned, the King has no black soldiers. The rest of you hide behind the rails and be ready with you bows. Aim for their head and throat, I want each of them to get at least three arrows. Do not fire until I give the order. So, are we ready?”

    “Ready.” they all replied.

    “ Batu and Ajamu, I will take the helm, we need the four men on the sails and the rest of you go below decks and weigh the anchors, God be with us.” With that he got up and threw what remained of his coffee over the side, put down the cup and strode to the stern.

  15. Fast forward a little more...

    They dropped their nets so they would not draw attention and pretended to fish while they studied the ships that were at anchor. There were several average size galleons anchored on the outer perimeter, but closer to the shore was a really large warship. After surveying the area they sailed to the outer edge of the harbor, dropped anchor and pulled in their nets.

    Cleaning the fish, they began to cook and discuss the plan of action. Felipe took out his telescope and surveyed the ships. “The three on the outer edge are average size galleons, displacing maybe seven tons. I count…fifteen guns along their gun deck for a total of thirty cannons. The large one closer to shore is one of their newer vessels, she displaces about thirteen tons and I count…thirty cannons along her side on two different decks. She also has two forward on her bow and two on her stern for a total of sixty four guns. That is our ship.”

    Ajamu blew on a hot piece of broiled fish and looked at the harbor. “We would have to sail past those other three warships on the way out. What if they sound an alarm? Every ship in the harbor will be in pursuit of us.”

    Tor agreed, “It would be a lot safer to take the outer ship, thirty guns are enough, besides, how many men does it take to sail a ship like the smaller one? He asked.

    Felipe took a piece of fish and chewed on it as he thought. He then asked Andreas “What do you think Uncle?”

    Andreas stared across the harbor. “Two men per cannon would be sixty men, four manning the powder room to pass the gunpowder. Fifty manning small arms on her upper deck and maybe fifty to sail her. A few carpenters and a surgeon. About one hundred and eighty men.”

    Batu said with a voice as deep as a well “And we are twenty.” He looked at Felipe and raised his eyebrows.

    Felipe looked around his circle of friends. He took another bite of fish, chewed and swallowed it. “ While we are at sea, I am the Captain and give the orders. But in matters of life and death, I am your friend, not your master. I cannot force any of you to do anything that you do not want to do. The journey across the Atlantic from Spain is long and treacherous, they sometime loose up to a third of their crew to sickness and pirates. See all of her rigging?” He pointed at the large ship.

    “With those pulleys and cleats, the ship can be sailed with a lot less men. You simply tie the sails off where they are needed. Also, I do not plan on using all of her guns at once and trading cannon fire on the open sea. We will use guile and trickery to get close to other ships.” He looked at Andreas and Andreas gave him a wink. “We do not need the speed to cross the Atlantic right now, we just need to get her back to Tortuga so we do not need all of her sails unfurled.”

    Again he looked around the circle of men sitting on the rocking deck. All was silent except for the sound of the wind and the creaking of the timbers of their small ship. Felipe went on. “We may be only twenty, but I would stack any one of you up against five Spanish soldiers. Her troops are decimated from the war and they are recruiting young, inexperienced men. They have no time to teach them the art of the sword as my uncle and I have taught you.”

    He pointed at the large ship close to the shore. “We intend to attack the King’s ships and men. One day we may sail against a ship such as that one. Do you really want to be in one of those smaller ships? As soon as we get back to Tortuga we will recruit more men, but we need a ship first, and that should be our ship.”

    They all looked at the huge ship comparing it to the smaller ones. Batu spoke first. “I agree, we will get more men but we need a stout ship, what say you?” He looked around at the men and one by one, they all agreed and shook their heads. Batu said “Very well then, it is settled.”

    Felipe smiled and lit a small cigar “Get some rest then, tonight we will shed some Spanish blood.”

  16. Felipe rang the bell that hung from the roof of the pavilion and everyone gathered and sat in a circle. Andreas and Felipe explained the plan as they all listened. Ajamu’s wife said “We have a good life here, we are free and have food. I do not want my husband to be killed, this sounds like a very dangerous mission.”

    Ajamu quickly spoke up for all to hear. “Yes, we have a good life here and we owe all of this to Felipe and Andreas. They freed us and brought us here and we all swore allegiance to their cause. We have reaped the benefits and now it is time to fulfill our part of the bargain. We descended from a warrior tribe and now we have the chance to pay back the Spaniards for all of their transgressions against our parents and ourselves. I want to hear no more of this. If any man will not fulfill his part of the bargain I personally will kill him.”

    He looked around the circle but all agreed with what he said. “Are there any other objections?” Felipe asked. “This is indeed a very dangerous mission and I will not hold any one of you to the bargain. If any man or woman does not want to participate in this you do not have to, you simply will not reap any of the reward when we capture other ships. You are all free men and women now.”

    Batu stood up and looked around the circle and told them all. “If any man here shows cowardice I do not want them living in this village with us. As Ajamu said, we descended from a warrior tribe. We are not farmers and I too want blood in revenge for all of the wrongs that have been heaped on our people.”

    All of them shook their heads in agreement and Ajamu’s wife apologized. “I am sorry Felipe, I spoke without thinking. Yes, we do owe all of this to you and Andres, I was just concerned for the safety of my husband.”

    “There is no need to apologize.” Felipe smiled at her. “I understand your concern. We will begin laying supplies on our boat and wait for the moon to wane. You will have your revenge.”

  17. I'm really glad that I found this forum. I am really curious and would like some feedback as to how my work is viewed by a black readership. The main thrust of the early novels was revenge. Felipe wanted revenge for the murder of his father and the former slaves want revenge against the white masters who abused them so badly. Slavery can be hard to read about speaking of bullwhips and rape. It is even harder to write about. But as I said, the main thrust was revenge, then it became to end slavery in the new colonies.

    How can one small band of common, everyday men, slaves and fishermen do this? How can this handful of men fight the mightiest empire on earth and vanquish a social structure that all commerce depends on as well as the elite's pampered lifestyle? Please, comment on it but be kind and follow this tale just a little further. If they are to become pirates, they need a ship.....

    Once the village was completed Andreas began teaching them all how to properly wield a sword. They also spent many hours learning how to swim in the nearby pond of fresh water. As time passed they all became adept at handling the sails and steering the ship as they fished the rich waters surrounding the island. They learned fast and soon were accomplished sailors as well as swordsmen. They also learned the bow and lance.

    Life was good on the island, they were enjoying their new found freedom. No longer would they be whipped or have their wives taken at night by the master. A deep bond of friendship and devotion developed between them, Andreas and Felipe. They hunted and trapped hogs which were abundant on the island and built a smoke house to cure the meat so it would not spoil. The women cooked good meals and they ate well.

    Fast forward again please...

    “But, the time has come. These men are well trained at sailing and fighting now. We need more men but first we will need a ship, a large warship.” Andreas looked at him.

    “We cannot possibly capture such a ship with the Marianna, we have no cannons.” Felipe said.

    “I know this and have been thinking about it. We shall steal a ship.” Andreas looked at him and smiled. “Cuba is not far and they have a large port there. It is a home port to them and secure. They leave a minimum amount of guards on the ships at night, the guards get bored, they are not that vigilant. I believe that we could slip into the harbor under the cover of darkness and kill the few guards that are on board but we must be swift and very silent. If one man shouts and raises the alarm we will all be killed. We must plan it out very carefully and strike when there is no or very little moon.”

    “That is a bold plan uncle, but it seems like our only choice if we are to procure a large warship.” Felipe replied.

    “Very well, ring the bell and summon the men to the pavilion, let us make our plans.”

  18. Fast forward a little more....

    At last they waded onto the shore and through the jungle to the small settlement. They started a fire as the sun was setting and sat around it. Felipe said “Tonight you will sleep under the stars but the rainy season will soon be upon us. The women can use my mother’s cabin if they wish, she is not here yet. Tomorrow we will go into the jungle and chop more trees and build cabins for all of you. We can purchase more axes, saws and hammers in the square and we will get started on your homes.”

    Batu blinked at him “We will have our own houses? He asked.

    “Of course you will have your own houses, but we will have to build them. We will all work together and it will go quickly. Did you not have your own houses before?” Felipe looked around the circle of faces in the flickering firelight, he knew nothing of slaves or how they lived.

    Batu spoke “We slept in the back of the barn on hay. This is a whole new and wonderful life for us. We will serve you well Felipe.” With that he hugged him hard and let out a loud laugh.

    Felipe pushed him off and said, “You have had enough rum my friend and do not know your own strength. Now, before you break my neck I will ask you to release me.”

    The evening was getting cool and the sun was beginning to set. They gathered more firewood and Banana tree leaves to lay on. As night fell they had a roaring fire and Felipe passed the rum bottle around. Batu and the others had never had liquor and it affected them quickly. Batu stood and started to piss in the fire and everyone screamed at him. He staggered off a few feet and finished then came back and plopped down beside Felipe and put his arm around his neck. “So what is next my friend?” He asked.

    Batu smiled drunkenly at him. Felipe looked around them and smiled “You are my friends, we are equals and partners against the Spanish. I will of course be the Captain on the ship and give the orders there, that is the way of the sea. But on land, we are all friends and you will never serve another man again.”

    Batu’s wife spoke up “Does that go for us women too? You mean I do not have to serve Batu food any more?” She smiled.

    “Silence woman! Fetch me some more rum!” Batu shouted playfully. She stood up and tossed the clay jug into his lap smashing his testicles. Batu grabbed himself and rolled in pain as the crowd laughed loudly. They partied into the night and one at a time fell asleep under the stars.

  19. Thank you Troy. I think if the people here will give me a minute to get this tale rolling, they will really like it, just give me a chance. Amazon and Createspace eat up almost all of a new, self published authors royalties. I sold my first 12 books and looked, I had made 70 cents. This story is my life, I lived it, poured my heart, soul, blood sweat and real tears writing this tale and they kept most of the money. The only way an author like me actually gets paid is if a person buys the book from my estore. This novel is available on Kindle for 99 cents. The Tribe is the Sequel and then The New World. I intend to follow this family of former slaves and pirates through all of the interesting parts of history. I jumped forward 300 hundred years and wrote "Goldfish" in the present day. The descendants of this extended family still live above the law and below the radar but are no longer pirates. Immensely rich and now with computers and automatic weapons, they now help people who can'y go to the corrupt Mexican police, but that is far in the future. There is a lot of adventure in store for them before that. But if you decide to buy my books, please do so at my estore located here. You can also see pictures of the characters on the "Meet the crew" section with more pictures to come. Here ya go.... http://www.theratsnestweebly.com/my-store.html

    Anyway, where were we? Batu is about to rescue his wife.....

    He tied a rope around their necks and had their hands tied . He then tied all of them together by their necks and wrapped the rope around his saddle horn.

    Felipe, Andreas with Batu still tied over the horse’s back walked their horses to the fork in the road, then concealed themselves in the nearby jungle. They freed Batu and watched to see which direction the man would take. They would travel through the jungle and easily get ahead of the man walking the slaves and then ambush him. They watched and waited, they could still see the slave auction.

    The man checked their bonds again and swung into the saddle. When the horse started walking Batu’s wife was pulled off of her feet and drug for several feet. The man got off and whipped her with his quirt. “Get up you clumsy bitch or I will make my horse run and see if you can keep up!” She struggled to her feet and he slapped her once more hard across her buttocks.

    As he took the road to the left fork, Felipe, Andreas and Batu quickly got ahead of the man with his slaves. They dismounted and tied their horses to trees. Felipe drew his sword and handed it to Batu and said, “I will leave this pleasure to you, justice will be served today.”

    Batu smiled and hefted the blade. “I would prefer a machete, but this will do nicely my friend.”

    As the man approached Felipe stepped out onto the road and grabbed the horses reins. “What is the meaning of this?” The man shouted.

    “You have something that does not belong to you.” Felipe smiled and blew out a plume of smoke.

    “And what might that be?” He asked.

    “The woman tied behind you.” Felipe replied

    “I just bought her and she is the property of her new master now.” He said impudently.

    “No, actually she is the wife of this man.” Felipe nodded toward the side of the road. Batu Stepped out and immediately dug the tip of his sword into the man’s side forcing him off of his horse. Batu ran around the horse while the man drew his sword.

    Felipe had never seen such savagery as he witnessed at that moment. Batu’s swings were so powerful that the man was truly helpless. With one mighty swing he lopped off the mans arm which held his sword at the elbow. The man raised his other arm to defend himself and Batu cut that arm off as well. Without his arms he could only scream and try to run as Batu chased him hacking at him from behind. Finally, Batu cut his head off with one swipe and his body fell hard on the dusty road. The blood continued to spurt out of the arteries until it diminished away.

    Felipe told him “We need to work on your swordsmanship, my friend.”

    “He is dead, is he not?” Batu smiled and ran to hug his wife.

    “We need to get the body and the horse off of the road and cover the blood, help me free your wife and the others quickly.”

    Batu explained what was going on to his wife and friends and they drug the body off of the road into the jungle. They covered the blood with dust and picked up his arms and head, these Batu threw far into the jungle.

    Felipe looked at the other slaves. “I have an offer for you, I need men to exact revenge on the Spanish dogs who killed my father. I will sail you off of this island and set you free if you will fight by my side. I will share any bounty that we seize from the Spaniards equally with you, you will be free and rich. Or you can simply flee on your own here and now.”

    Batu told them that he was joining Felipe and their decision was made instantly to join with them also. The short man with the wide shoulders smiled and introduced himself as Ajamu and his large friend introduced himself as Tor.

    Felipe gave Batu the man’s sword and told him “Take Ajamu with you down the right fork of the road and free the rest of your friends as they pass. Andreas will be at the fork and will come for you as soon as the last of them are sold. Tor will stay here with me and we will free all who come this way. Meet me back here as quickly as possible after you have freed them all. We will sail off of this island and tonight you will all be free men.

    Batu smiled and took his wife and Ajamu off following the road just inside of the jungle until they came to the fork. Andreas drew his sword and handed it to Ajamu. They rode ahead and got into position to free the rest of their friends.

    Felipe took Tor and they went back to the jungle near the road and waited. Over the course of the next two hours he had a group of ten men and eight women hiding in the jungle when Batu arrived leading another eight men and five more women.

    There was much joy at being reunited and free. The prospect of finally being free men and being able to get revenge after years of abuse at the hands of the Spaniards was exciting to them and they were all eager to join Felipe. But for now the need was to escape this place before the men and their slaves were missed. Felipe and his friends followed along the road staying well into the jungle and very quiet until they came to the coast where the Marianna was moored.

    Now he told them not to say anything and just to follow him and do as he told them. He boldly walked up to the dock with all of the slaves following him and approached the Harbor Master to pay his due.

    “That is a fine lot of slaves but how could you afford to buy that many of them? This ship does not look like that of a wealthy man.”

    “I was hired by a wealthy man to purchase them and the size of my ship does not concern you, only that I pay you.” Felipe handed him enough reales to bring a smile to his face and then had all of the slaves board the small ship and sit down. The harbor master helped him to untie his lines and shoved him off. Felipe and Andreas trimmed the sails as they filled with the wind , the boat began to glide easily out of the harbor. Andreas looked at the harbor disappearing behind them and then looked at the former slaves, smiled and winked. As They rounded the windward point and turned out of sight of the harbor he turned to his group of new friends and said, “You can smile now.”

    A wild cheer came up and Batu grabbed Felipe in a mighty bear hug and lifted him off of his feet.

    “Easy my friend, do not break my ribs, save that for the Spaniards. That keg is filled with rum, pass a cup around and let us go home.” Felipe smiled as his small band of men tasted rum for the first time in their lives. They sailed on toward Tortuga.

    As Felipe sailed into the sheltered lagoon the breakwater stopped and became smooth. Andreas expertly tacked the sails and then dropped the anchor. Felipe let the boat swing around on it’s anchor chain into the wind and dropped a small anchor at the stern and lashed it tight, the boat was secure. He told Batu “The tide is out now and we still have ten feet of water beneath our keel in case it drops any further. All we have to do now is swim the short distance to the shore.”

    “We do not swim.” Batu said in his deep voice.

    “What do you mean you do not swim, none of you?” Felipe asked as he looked around at them.

    “Excuse me, but our former master never saw the need for recreational activities, we washed at the well and there were no rivers or streams nearby, we do not swim.” Batu replied.

    Felipe looked at all of them as the Marianna rocked on it’s anchors. “Well how am I going to get you all to the shore?”

    Batu looked around, “You have plenty of rope, you tie it around your waist and then swim to the shore. We can then climb down the rope hand over hand and keep our heads out of the water.”

    “I cannot hold you up, you weigh twice as much as I do!” Felipe said.

    Batu smiled and said “Perhaps we will send one of our wives first, can you hold one of them up? They are strong.”

  20. I really don't understand the focusing on the fact that the author is white or why that even needs to come up. I targeted the black audience because I like them and their characters fit so well in my books. The characters took on a life of their own to me after a while.Still i don't see it as "Hey, I'm a Spaniard but wrote about a lot of black characters" as much as I lament the lack of black characters portrayed well in many other books, other than the Alex Cross series by James Patterson.

  21. "So how do we go about obtaining these slaves?"

    "It is simple." Andreas smiled, "We kill their masters and free them."

    The next morning they set sail through the windward passage to Hispaniola where the slaves were sold. They rented three horses and arrived at the dusty square where the auction was to be held.

    Wagons pulled up and began unloading the slaves, the women first and then the men. One slave in particular stood out. He was very tall and muscular, six foot six and at least 285 pounds of chiseled muscle. He had a fierce look about him, his anger burned in his face. He had a thick black beard that made his jaw look even stronger, he was indeed a very menacing looking man. Felipe and Andreas stood in the shade of a flamboyant tree and watched, smoking a cigar.

    The auctioneer stepped up to the platform and called for attention. “We have a fine lot of strong, healthy slaves for you today. All come from the same stock and tribe. A very wealthy landowner bought their parents from the same shipment. This is the second generation, their children. These are not imported savages, they were born here, speak our language and know our ways. All are healthy, strong and will make fine servants. Let us start the bidding with some breeding stock.”

    A woman with a manacle around her neck was pulled away from the rest to the platform. She tried to struggle and was yanked very hard by the rope that tethered her. The large black slave began to struggle against his bonds and scream. “ That is my wife! Release her or I will kill you! I will kill all of you!“ He lunged for her and drug all of the other men that were tied to him. It took five Spaniards to finally restrain him. Still he struggled violently until they had to untie him from the rest and tie him to a tree.

    The woman was led to the platform and the auctioneer raised her shirt showing her full, well formed breasts and her perfect slim waistline. He turned her around and raised her skirt showing her firm buttocks then turned her again. Her face was beautiful, large liquid brown eyes that tilted up at the outside corners with long lashes, Her lips were very full and she had high cheekbones, Her skin was a flawless light brown. She was truly beautiful. The crowd began to shout and the large man tied to the tree hurled death threats at anyone who bought her. A man approached him and hit him very hard with a club, he just looked at him with such hatred and ferocity in his eyes that the man backed away.

    All eyes were on the woman as the bidding began and Felipe walked up to the large, fierce man.

    “Listen to me, I know that if I purchase you that you will never work for me. You will try to escape and find your wife, am I correct?”

    “Yes” said the man in a very deep voice as he stared at Felipe.

    “What is your name?” Felipe asked.

    “ My master called me Juan, but my given name by my father is Batu.” he replied.

    “ I am Felipe. I do not want you to work, but if I buy you and then get your wife back so you can be free together, would you fight by my side against these Spanish dogs?” Felipe asked.

    “To the death, you would have my complete devotion but you yourself appear to be a Spaniard. How do you propose that we get her back?” He asked.

    “It is simple, I will buy you and we will kill the bastard who buys her and get her back before the sun sets today. And yes, I am a Spaniard by birth, but they killed my father and it is my life’s endeavor to punish them for this.”

    The large man looked at him, he did not trust Spaniards but he saw the truth in Felipe’s eyes. This sounded to good to be true but he realized that he really had no choice. He smiled down at him and said “You have my word Felipe, if you this, I will always fight by your side.”

    Felipe told him “Continue to scream loudly and threaten anyone who buys you or her with death. No one will want to buy you except me and we will get your wife back. I promise my friend.” Felipe smiled at him and walked back to the platform.

    The bidding was reaching a pitch and finally a price was settled on. A man walked up to the platform to claim his property. He raised her shirt and squeezed her breast. She slapped him hard across the face. He grabbed her hair and yanked her head back and slapped her with a vicious blow across her mouth. The blood trickled down her chin, crimson against her brown skin.

    He smiled with yellow teeth and said “The master is paying for you but tonight I will show you what a real man feels like. You will spread your legs and beg for more.” Batu screamed death threats, swore that he would hunt him down and kill him. He was going berserk, struggling against his bonds.

    The auctioneer started to lead the next woman to the platform when Felipe spoke up loudly.

    “I cannot hear or think with this slave screaming like this, sell him now and be done with it so we can conduct business!” Everyone agreed and six strong men led Batu struggling to the platform. He looked so ferocious that it was doubtful that anyone would buy him. The bidding began but the auctioneer could not be heard above his screaming at the man who had bought his wife. They had him gagged and the bidding began again at sixty reales.

    No one raised a hand at the first offer, no one wanted this wild beast. The auctioneer again repeated the offer of sixty reales.

    “Look at the size of this man and the strength, he will make a fine worker after the whip is applied.” He said.

    Felipe blew a plume of smoke into the air and said “I will take him off of your hands if you give me 10 reales.” The crowd laughed loudly and the auctioneer began again as Batu struggled, it took all six men just to hold him.

    The auctioneer began again at 60 reales, Felipe offered 10.

    “We have a bid of ten reales, do I hear twenty?” The crowd went silent. The auctioneer went on…

    “This is insane, just ten reales for such a large, strong man? Do I hear twenty?” The crowd still was silent. “Going once for just ten reales, going twice, sold!”

    Felipe walked to the platform and instructed the six men to drape him over his spare horse and bind his hands and feet and to tie them firmly beneath the horses stomach. When this was done, he led the horse away a short distance under the shade of a tree. He pretended to check Batu’s bonds while he actually loosened them as well as the rough rope that was used as a gag.

    Felipe ran his fingers across the deep scars that crisscrossed the man‘s back, the bite of the whip. “Bastards, what kind of a man could do this to another man? I have to leave you bound until the man who bought your wife leaves, then we will follow him and I will free you to liberate your wife, do you understand?” Batu nodded and watched the bidding.

    The rest of the women were sold quickly and then the men were led up. The best specimen was led up first, a short man with very wide, muscular shoulders. He was bought by the same man that bought Batu’s wife. As the bidding went on he also bought one more man, this one almost as large as Batu. He tied a rope around their necks and had their hands tied . He then tied all of them together by their necks and wrapped the rope around his saddle horn.


  22. Thank you Troy and yes, many are not aware that the Moors had many white slaves. My novels start in Mexico in 1614, corruption in the new colonies is rampant as the viceroy arrests innocent people to seize their assets. The main character and his father are falsely accused of piracy merely for the bounty. His father is murdered during the arrest and he kills a gaurd to escape. He and his uncle must now flee but they swear revenge, all they need is a crew and a ship....


    My name is Felipe Montoya and this is my tale. In order for me to tell you this, I must go back to the beginning. How did I, a simple fisherman become a pirate, the most wanted man in the Caribbean and the new colonies of Mexico? Why was I forced to kill and just how did I, an honest man become the sole focus of the King‘s wrath? As I said, I must start at the beginning, it is a long tale of bravery, love, betrayal and devotion. The story of common men struggling together to defeat insurmountable odds. My story was written long ago, let God be my judge.

    Fast forward....

    It took four months but they now had three sturdy cabins built, one for each of them as well as Marianna. “We must still gather some men before we bring her here so that we have a large enough force to provide her with protection if the need arises. We will sail tomorrow and get some men.” Andreas said.

    “Where will we get these men?” Felipe asked.

    “Hired men are only as good as their pay, they have no particular loyalty to their Captain. No, we need men who hate the Spaniards as much as we do and feel a debt of loyalty to us. The slaves that the Spaniards bring here are badly abused. We will free some slaves and they will be more devoted to us than any men that we could hire. They are also very strong and resourceful people.” Andreas replied

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