8: Training

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When the sun surrendered to the calm moon, Joel took Anna down to the Jackdaw's armory to fetch a pistol and a sword to claim as her own.

Among the rusty spare weapons, Anna found a pistol and cutlass that suited her build and fighting style. The blade was worn and the pistol often jammed, but the weapons were hers, and she took great pride in them. After she strapped her new possessions to her person, she looked at herself in the dusty mirror. For once, she was proud of who she saw.

Her long blonde hair was gathered out of her face with a beaded, purple bandana. Her clothes outlined her figure in a unique way and showed of her curves. Her new weapons gleamed dangerously against the candlelight. She looked like a tall, confident girl. Not just any girl, a pirate.

"Not much that look will do ye if you carry the weight but don't know how to weild it." Said Joel, reading her mind.

"Yes. But not much I can do till my back heals." She replied, unsheathing her sword and making the tip draw long circles in the air.

"Well, I reckon we can work on your shot.." Trailed off Joel,
"What say you?"

"Yes!" Anna said with brimming enthusiasm.

Joel, however, looked at her like she was bezerked,
"Lass, pirates don't say yes, they say 'aye'!"

"Aye! Sorry." Anna corrected herself awkwardly.

The next morning, training began.

Joel hung a training dummy made of sacks of cotton from one of the sails and began teaching Anna the basics.

There wasn't much to it:
Sight your target wit precision,
hold your breath, steady your hand and fire with that steady hand. Keep your elbow loose to obsorb the kick.
Anna quickly learned that the steady-your-hand part was her weakness, and she spent a good amount trying on vain to hit the swaying dummy. All the while, Joel wad losing his patience.

But slowly, Anna felt a new instinct building its place within her as she learned to trust her weapon.

The first time she hit the dummy, she lept in the air and gave her trainer an unexpected hug that made his eyes bulge.

A few other pirates off duty took to brushing up on their shooting skills as well.

They waves sufdenly picked up, which made the dummy sway even more. Anna stood with three or four pirates as they laughed between their shots at the wildly dancing dummy.

Then, a pistol shot echoed from behind them, and the bullet zoomed past then and hit the dummy so accurately, that it's head flew backwards as a shot was placed dead in the center of his 'skull.'

Joel and Anna traced the sound of the mystery marksman to the poopdeck. 
There, they saw the owner of the shot, Captain Kenway. He was smirking as handsome as ever, one hand on the helm, the other on a smoking pistol.

Anna suddenly became embarrassed at her lack of skill, but continued to practice with rising determination.

After she finished her training sessions, she did anything she could without splitting her back: cleaning guns, checking rigging, cooking with John, storing and counting the inventory, the list was endless. They were the kind of chores that were often assigned to her aboard the Albatross. But, this ship made the chores feel different.

Kenway was right. She was seen as an equal, and her happiness so long denied to her was blooming like a rose.

She was free, and that was the difference.

During dinner, Anna realized that she would be sleeping in the captains cabin tonight.

Oh dear..

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