A Prince of Pirates, part 1 / 5.

“We can’t do this.”

She always said that, but they always did it anyway.

This thing that burned between them was stronger than words, stronger than vows made in haste during a battle on a pirate ship.

He visited her in the royal chambers often, a galleon suspended above the Cove in an inexplicable defiance of gravity. Perhaps he had little self-control these days, but her body was his truth. Her lips, his salvation. In her eyes he saw a man who he might actually like to be someday. Not all treasure is silver and gold, and the greatest treasure Jack had ever found lay between these sheets, her hallowed skin pressed against his in a sacred embrace.

I love you.

She’d said it once in the throes of passion, a breathless oath torn from kiss-swollen lips, their bodies so entwined neither could tell where one stopped and the other began.

He did not say it back, could not say it back, but he’d kissed her hard and prayed she could taste the truth on his tongue.

She was the only woman for him.

They did it anyway, until the day Elizabeth said no and meant it. They were hurting Will, she said, dark circles under her eyes. He could feel it. She could feel it. That heart beat within its chest like an angry drum, sitting on her desk in her study. She no longer slept for the nightmares of her childhood love covered in barnacles, become another terrible abomination of the sea.

Jack had been shot in the chest once. Well, twice, to be exact. Neither time hurt as much as this.

She told him not to come back, so he didn’t. Not even when he heard through the Caribbean grape vine that the Pirate King was ripe with child, big as a frigate and ready to burst. Not even when he heard she had borne a son, and named him Henry Turner.

Perhaps Jack had smiled a little at that. Henry, after Henry Morgan, no doubt, her favorite pirate. She had told him so once on a deserted island, when the fire had burned low and they were full to the gills with rum. A man who brought the Spanish empire to its knees, sacking port after port in multiple acts of daring and cunning, and brought mountains of gold back to Port Royal.

A fitting name for a prince of pirates.

Jack lifted his rum bottle and drank a toast to the son he would never know. He did not stop drinking until the blackness of a merciful oblivion embraced him.

There’s only so much a man can take.

The Lewana family was a small one, but a strong one. They had ruled the Crescent since it’s discovery. They were a respected family. They were good to their subjects, and had never experienced an uprising. Of course, there were those who thought that the port kingdom should, once more, be separate from the others.  But, they did not act.

Taran had become king at a late age. His younger brother had been crown prince, as he’d given up his claim. But then, things had become…complicated. The king passed on due to illness, and Taran took up his claim again, allowing himself to be crowned.  

The first child of Taran and Amaria had passed on at a young age. His sister, the princess Isobelle had immediately become important to the realm. They began grooming her for her future rule before her parents were even able to finish their mourning. Isobelle’s twin, Elliar, was immediately betrothed.

It was not usual for a woman to give birth to one set of healthy twins, and then a second set of the same. But this time, two girls.  The eldest of the two was Sparrow.

Nadir, Prince Dorian’s Avani lover, had been reliable when it came to the queen’s pregnancies, able to predict the genders. He’d made predictions to their futures. Isobelle was to be a great queen, beloved by her people, and served well by a loving husband. Elliar was to be a valiant knight who would grow to surpass even those of legend.

Sparrow…Sparrow was a bird. Nadir was unable to tell for many days if she was to be a girl or a boy, though he had no problems predicting Robin.  She was to be a girl, and she would bring the downfall of a man. A prediction she didn’t know, but that Sparrow had heard her parents discussing many nights. But her…She was to soar above and beyond men. And that was something. Something…hopeful.

Sparrow spent many days riding. Her father, who had grown ill these past months, had gifted each of his children with a horse upon their fourth birthday. The beasts would grow with them, and they would each be one. And Sparrow had never found anyone who understood her better. 

She spent hours with the Clydesdale, fingers tangled into his mane as he ran through the woods that she wasn’t supposed to be in, taking her places she wasn’t supposed to go.

Today…perhaps hadn’t been the best day for such a ride. He threw the princess, the girl tumbling across the ground, falling down a hill. Tree branches grabbed and tugged and tore at her skirts, and rocks grabbed bits and pieces for themselves. The beast climbed down carefully, offering his neck to her. She took hold, allowing him to lift her. She would have to present herself to her mother this way, ask her permission to change…Robin would no doubt tease her for it.

The princess rode back, stabling her horse before running across the grounds, jumping the fence in the pasture. She ran across the path, catching the eye of her younger brother, who was passing a window. She ignored his shaking head, running faster, only now realizing that her hair had fallen from it’s neat braids and bun. She could see her sisters, sitting on the blankets with the plates and cups and cakes in the middle of them all, and she saw her mother’s bright red head, and…and their guest…She had hoped the girl would decide to go spend time with Elliar so she would be able o present herself to her mother without making a fool of herself.

The princess took a deep breath, adjusting her ripped dress, which now resembled a tunic. She wiped some blood from the little cut on her cheek and tried to make her hair proper… She took a deep breath, inching closer.