The storm came more suddenly then anyone anticipated. A sunny clear day turned dark as angry grey clouds rolled in from the south to loom over the ships. Just as suddenly as the clouds came the world turned into a storm of chaos with crashing waves and rain like knives cutting right to the bones of the pirates. Thunder growled and lightening flashed catching mast of ships on fire.
The Thanatos was safe in a small cove where cliffs shielded the crew from the rage of the elements. The ship rocked and swayed, but no matter how hard the waves pounded on the hull the wood clung tight with nail and splinter.
"Mommy…I-I'm scared." Came Alyth's small voice from her bed. Tartara had been watching the storm for any signs of breaking, but now she turned to her little one. Tartara went to the small child and sat by her placing her hand gently on the girls head to stroke her hair.
"It's alright, the storm can't hurt you here." Alyth leaned into Tartara for comfort, allowing the young woman to embrace her. A boom of lightening yelled through the wind and lightening speared through the sky. The dark haired girl clutched at the Sea Witch's night shift whimpering. Tartara hushed her little ward and continued to stroke her hair. "Everything is-" Three loud knocks came from her door, heavy handed and urgent. Tartara grasped a robe and shoved her arms in it rushing to the door with thoughts running through her mind of an attack.
Hades stood behind the door all hard eyes and dripping wet from the rain. Tartara could see what it was in her first mates eyes. Ships were coming in and he did not yet know if they were friend or foe. Tartara nodded in understanding to the former slave and closed the door leaving him with orders the rouse the ship and load the cannons, but to not fire. She quickly got dressed in simple garb that if you didn't know the materials they were made of you would think she was just a ship wench. Strapping on a sword she kissed her daughter on the head telling her to keep her head down and left. The wind instantly pulled at her clothing the moment she stepped out into the elements. The wind yanked at her hair like hands trying to drag her down to see, but they wouldn't have her she vowed long ago. Using the hard wood railing she pulled herself up onto the upper most part of the deck to see the other ship better. The other ship was aflame, most likely struck by lightning from the storm. The red and orange flames licked at the wooden ship turning the wood to ash and cinders. There was a name written on the hull, it was faint already being swallowed by the flames, but it was readable.
"It's the War Odin; the black crows are in trouble." She said to no one in particular. Like a stalking wild cat, Hades was at her side without a sound. She turned to him deciding what to do. Hades would carry out her orders no matter what she chose, but what was the right decision? Let them burn to death and kill any survivors to increase her chances of winning the race, or save them and possibly loose because of it? The red haired captain clutched her teeth together and made her choice.
"Hades tell the men to get into the small boats and find any survivors, you will stay here with a few men to help the other onto the ship and I will go with the rest to the ship." Hades knew better then to protest, his captain was stubborn in these matters and would go weather he liked it or not.
The crew of the Thanatos lowered the small boats into the raging sea, each had two strong men to row and one to pull in the people who jumped from the burring ship. Tartara's boat was the first out onto water which was meant to give her men courage while on the boats. If a captain put their self in the same danger as their crew they were respected and followed. With her Tartara had two men that often worked at raising and lowering the anchor. They were heavily muscled in the arms and backs, handpicked by Hades to row her safely through the dark raging waters. The men rowed and rowed until they could feel the heat of the flames on their faces and sweat mixed with rain on their skin.
"Circle around the ship; we will look for people who jumped." She yelled through the wind.
The men nodded and circled around. A black lump was floating in the waters and a closer look revealed it to be a young woman with long brown hair. She was cold and shivering obviously afraid and clung to the red haired captain as she pulled her onto the boat. One of her men wrapped the girl in a blanket and started rowing again.
By the time her boat rowed back to the Thanatos there was five more people in the boat. Two were cooks, the brown haired girl, Mia she called herself, cleaned the captain's rooms, and the other two were just deck hands. The Sea Witch asked about their captain but they had no idea what had become of him. She had her men row back through the dark waters to her ship and helped the survivors they had onto the Thanatos. A rope later was rolled down the side of the hull and quickly taking it in her grasp the red head pulled herself up.
Hades reached out and plucked her from the rope latter like a child would a flower before she could even reach the top. He lifted her easily and placed her securely on the deck before throwing a heavy wool blanket over her shoulders. She pulled the blanket close to her shoulders, freezing from the wind and rain, as she gave orders for the Black Crow crew to be taken care of. The Sea Witch was about to turn away when an argument was carried through the wind. It only got louder as two people climbed up the rope from a second boat.
"…it's not like it was my fault!" said a voice.
"We should have dropped anchor sooner!" This voice was more annoyed and feminine then the other one.
"How was I supposed to know that the lightning would hit the mast?" The owner of the voice stepped onto the slick deck of the red head's ship and helped his first mate up. The one eyed pirate captain looked up and saw Tartara bundled in the blanket. From the look on his face he seemed embarrassed, perhaps it was from the fact that a woman that saved him, or perhaps it was the fact that it was her that saved him.
"Captain Simon," she said nodding towards him. "Come with me so we may speak about your…problem." She said turning and heading into the captain quarters. She didn't stop to see if he followed, she knew he would and if he didn't Hades would surely throw the man in her direction and storm after him with sword in hand.
"So, um thanks…" Captain Simon said walking up next to her. Tartara looked over at him and smiled.
"You were in trouble; I couldn't just let you all die." He seemed a bit surprised at the kindness found in her voice.
When Simon had ordered his crew into the cove he had not expected for her ship to be there. In truth Simon expected the Sea Witch to be much more gruff and unwelcoming to him; he expected her to shoot cannons at his crew and with the mast on fire there was no way for him to defend themselves. He walked with her down a long hall way deeper into a ship that seemed vaster once you stepped onto it. She opened a heavy oaken door and walked over to a corner of the room pulling a curtain closed where a child lay sleeping. The one eyed captain looked around her quarters. Although not as large or well-furnished as his own captain quarters, a person could tell that this was where the head of a ship resigned.
Intricate wood carvings of sea monsters and gods long forgotten lined the tops of the room with bits of colored glass near windows to give the room some color, most likely for the child he saw. Tartara walked over to a large dark stained desk to sit behind it, motioning for him to sit in the chair in front of her. He did as the motion asked and sat in a rather stiff way nervous under her green gaze.
"I have saved you and most of your crew….but I will only let you stay until the next port, here." She pointed to an old parchment map to a small fading dot. "Once there you must all leave. That is my offer." Simon crossed one leg over the other and sat pondering. Her men were more in number then his were at the moment and so taking the ship was out of the question, not that his crew even had the strength left for such a feet. The only choice he truly had was to be a courteous guest.
"Alright….how will I continue the race?" He asked a slight whine to his tone. The red head say back in her seat allowing the blanket to slip off her shoulders.
"That is not my concern Captain Winchester." She answered him softly.
"I'm sorry?" She asked eyes widening in confusion.
"Call me Simon" He said smiling. Tartara couldn't help but smile back. She led him to a second room near her own. It was smaller and quite possibly her first mate's quarters.
"You may share this room with Hades for the time being, I had another crew member of mine set a shirt and trousers out for you." She nodded towards him. "Sleep well….Simon." After he left and changed awkwardly the door opened and behind it was the scared first mate, Hades. Simon looked at the larger man clearly frightened of his appearance.
Hades looked down at the black haired captain with hard amber eyes. He in no way seemed happy about his new roommate. Hades grumbled something in a language the captain didn't know and went to his cot to sleep facing the wall. Not knowing what to do he sat down and leaned up against the wall to sleep.
By the time Simon woke up the next morning the large former slave was already gone and his clothes from last night were dry. He changed and walked out on the deck blinking out the sun's rays and cracking his stiff back. The Thanatos was alive with people from both crews scrubbing the deck, manning the mast, standing look out and who knew how many were still below deck. Cargo was tied down above deck and from the look of it, the chest and barrels were from his ship. Looking around he spied Mia his friend and maid talking to a young bald man steering the ship. Mia seemed to be having fun talking as if her mouth was a water fall of words laughing every now and then at the expression the man at the wheel made.
Walking up the stairs to the upper deck he found the female captain of the ship. Her hair was blowing gently in the salty wind as she looked out over the ocean her green eyes searching for something. The one eyed captain walked over to her.
"Hey, um how long have I been sleeping?" He asked. She turned to him slowly as if just waking from a trance the waters had put on her.
"Half the day, I told your first mate to let you sleep." She said smiling, but the smile seemed different from the one he had seen last night almost sad. He wanted to know if something was wrong but hunger bid him to eat first. He asked her about food with a slight blush on his face, making her laugh. She led him below deck to the kitchens and brought him a plate of oatmeal and bread. Simon ate quickly stuffing his mouth and then asked for another plate, instead she brought him an apple. He ate that quickly too.
"We'll be at the port by the end of the day and once there you will have to leave. We were able to salvage some of your cargo and we will allow you to keep that, it may even buy you a trip back to England." Simon thought it was reasonable and with the cargo he may be able to buy another ship. The rest of the day he spent walking around the ship or talking with the Sea Witch. He found that she was nothing like the roomers said. She was kind and commanding, but she was no frightening person who could turn into a sea monster at will, or at least he had not seen he do so yet. He also meet he ward, a little girl with violet eyes by the name of Alyth. She was a shy girl and so it took her a while to come out from behind the red haired captain, but when she did she was all smiles and bright eyes. He talked to Ruby making plans about what they would do once they were set on land and soon they were at port.
"Captain Simon, if you do find a new ship I hope to see you again." Tartara said smiling.
"I hope to see you too." The crow captain said winking. She blushed a little as he went, then moved back up to the deck of her ship.
Simon took what gold they had salvaged and walked about the port. It was a busy little town along the coast of Africa with several ships waiting to trade for gold, salt and slaves. After seeing the man called Hades, Simon looked for a ship slave free. He found it on a small merchant vessel looking for a crew. He walked up to a stern looking man with blond hair.
"I'm looking for a ship headed to the Caribbean…I also have a crew that can man this ship. Will you take us?" He was smart and didn't mention the money. The man looked him over and then nodded.
"We still need some supplies but we will leave in the morning." The voice was much too high to be a man's and it was then that Simon realized that he was talking to a woman. His face had to show his shock, but the woman paid it no mind.
"T-Thank you…" He said then turned from her to get his crew.