Freedom Pioneers : "Expeditions" [Ch8v]

CHAPTER EIGHT Continues …..

Finally Gavin assisted Maloney onto the ship and Michael grabbed Rhiannan’s arm.
‘Come sister, we wait for you now.’ he said in a strange half accent.
‘Oh of course yes we do now!’ she replied and, like she had seen the silly maids do, she giggled and battered her eyelids at the corporal and his patrol. ‘Farewell then boys and thank you.’ She called allowing Michael to draw her away after him and then push her before him up the gangplank. He looked back at the men and then something unusual caught his eye. He looked up to see a woman in Indian garb carrying a bundle, a papoose on her back and a boy before her. It wasn’t the bright dun colour of her costume as much as the bright, almost white gold, of her hair. The woman in the same instant looked over to him and for a heartbeat he thought he was looking at his mother.

Then a sharp barked order reminded him of their plight and he lept aboard as Furness drew in the gangplank, Maloney and Gavin barking orders as they strode around the decks and had the ship away.

Rhiannan found herself seeking the handsome naval officer who was now at the bow of his ship frowning but not at her, at Michael. Acting instinctively she kept up the character of ship owner’s niece and happily ran to stand on the railings closest to the bow of the British ship and between the naval officer and Michael.

‘Why hello sir!’ she smiled and reluctantly his eyes switched to her.
They first showed annoyance and then pleasure with a fleeting surprise as the transition.
‘Good morning ma’am.’
‘Oh it’s Miss.’ she blushed and laughed prettily. ‘And you are a captain?’
‘Lieutenant, miss.’ He informed her. ‘Lieutenant Andrew Summerfield.’
‘A lieutenant, that sounds very important. My uncle is a captain. My brothers both try to be first mates. Perhaps they should be lieutenants like you.’ She prattled on hoping he missed her withholding of her name.
‘The British navy is slightly different ma’am.’ He informed her more. ‘Perhaps I could persuade you to stay a little longer so I could educate you?’
She laughed then ‘Oh I’m afraid not sir, my uncle wishes to leave on this noon tide. We are away as we speak.’ She laughed a little more

She stepped back from the railing where a barrel was lashed, making him realise as they’d spoken she had actually walked the length of her ship and was now skipping up the steps to the bow poop deck where a crewman was releasing the final rope to control the bows release from the dock. She watched the man let the end go and it skip across the water, dragged dripping around the pillar on the dock and then skip back across the water finally flying up into the stern to lay coiled neatly behind her.

Maloney and the crew had executed a brilliant manoeuvre with the poles and ropes available pushing the stern out and around so that the bow now faced where the stern once had, out in the deeper water on the outer sides of the “parked” ships. It was his turn now to also walk the length of his ship to continue the conversation with her as she walked the length of her ship again.

‘But surely you could ask your uncle to weigh anchor for just an hour while I show you the finest ship the British navy can offer?’

Rhiannan was completely aware that the man’s objective was not to woo her but to detain them. She wondered if he realised hers was not to flirt with him but to distract him? And then she hoped that the men around her on the “Mary-Lou” trusted her loyalty to them and realised her objective.

‘I am afraid not, kind sir; we would miss the tide and then be stuck here till the morrow. My uncle prefers not to leave port in the dark.’
‘Have you far to go?’

Easily she recognised that was a polite way of him wanting their destination.
‘We were planning to cross over to Africa before returning home to England. I hear there is such wonders to behold there. Have you been there Lieutenant?’
‘No, not as yet. Perhaps we could travel together, a navel escort as it were. These waters are full of pirates and the likes.’
‘Really? Would I be in danger of being molested by a pirate?’ she asked breathlessly and he gave a small laugh.
‘No so much now days.’ He reassured her.

Them both being in the belly of their ships as the “Mary-Lou” past his, and thus the closest they would ever come, she took the advantage of looking directly into his eyes … and wished she hadn’t. They were startling blue, contrasting with the darkness of his hair and the length of his eyelashes and the whites of his teeth as he smiled and she actually forgot to breathe for a moment. Then the moment passed and they were walking again to continue the conversation.

‘Pity, I had always fancied that to be exhilarating fun.’
‘I assure you madam that fun it would not be. Pirates are cruel selfish brigands without a care for anything or anyone but their own satisfaction.’
‘And wouldn’t taming one make the challenge such a thrill?’ she asked grabbing the rail with both hands and leaning forward her eyes flashing with brazen daring.
‘Speak like that further to me madam and the idea of turning pirate myself would not be so far fetched as to germinate, just to give you the thrill of taming me.’

She straightened and gaping mouthed stared at him allowing the “Mary-Lou” to take her further from him; realising he too was still and staring seriously, dangerously at her. She ran mounting the stairs as he mounted his. He had lost his hat somewhere along the way, his hair escaping his attempt to dock it severely.

‘Ah but it would not be a true taming, for you would only be playing at piratical satisfaction.’ She dared go on her eyes flashing mischief, boldly striding across the last of the deck toward him ‘And your true self is such a gentleman that I would never be in fear of my life.’

He lept up onto the rear railing of his ship to get as close as he could to her and give her the impression that there was a pirate in every sailor.
‘Perhaps it is the gentleman I pretend and your life, mam’selle, is now perilously in danger.’

The ships pulled them apart and she stood staring after him breathing heavily, both her hands gripping the rear railing of the “Mary-Lou”. He stood on his railing, one hand pushing on a rope the other out for balance, carefully watching her as her ship took her from him

Freedom Pioneers : "Expeditions" [Ch8v]


Frankston, Australia

  • Artist

Artist's Description

For my NaNoWriMo challenge

One Part of a three part novel.
A spin off from my Daintree Daughter’s Book

Chapter 8 continues
First part of Chapter 8 – here
This chapter then continues – here
And then – here
And here

Expeditions begins – here

Beware: this is a realistic Adult book & not a pretty tale like my poetry

It tells of the fight to become free and happy, with the leading characters first facing the trials of the ugly side of life, and the shackles of their pasts dragging at them as they carve their own standard of living. But in the mid 1800s it was normal for the children of the poor to see the activities of their parents – good & bad; generally they weren’t sheltered … that came in soon after when everyone wanted to live like the well to do did & hide or ignore the brutality of the ugly side of life.

Remember in Australia, Corporal Punishment was only outlawed 35 years ago! Child abuse is still being fought & wives could not testify against their husbands for anything including marital rape until recent times also.

So all that aside I hope you can enjoy the story! ☼

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