6 - True colours

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The commotion on deck got louder, but Nora paid it no attention. She was stuck in her own mind, James's words in her head. Three months. Three months of dirty pirates, no land and an uncertain future. How was she going to survive this? Feeling panic rise up within her, Nora needed to calm down. Panicking wouldn't solve anything. If she were to get herself out of this mess, she needed to remain calm, to focus. With a crew this big, Nora doubted that they had food and water to last for the whole journey. Which meant that sooner or later, they had to get to a harbour or some form of land to secure more supplies. She only had to hold on until then. If the ship got close enough to land, all she had to do was swim. Nora was quite the good swimmer, and she strongly believed that with her freedom as motivation, she'd be able to swim any distance.

Looking out at the sea, she searched for any sign of land. But everywhere she turned, all Nora saw were waves. With the sun almost gone, the sea had gone dark and stood in strong contrast to the white foam splashing against the ship. For a second Nora wondered what it would be like to jump. To climb the rail and just fall. To hit the water and feel the waves throw her body around, consuming her. Staring at the waves, she wondered if it would hurt. If the strong waves would break her bones, or if a shark would find her before she ran out of strength and slowly drowned. Most of all, she wondered if it would be a better fate than what waited for her on this ship. Perhaps, if she saw no other way to survive this, she would jump. To save herself the pain of some other death. She would much more prefer to die by her own hand than to be killed by pirates. And death by sea wouldn't be so bad. After all there were worse ways to die.

A loud bang ripped Nora from her morbid thoughts. The commotion that had earlier been easy to ignore had grown louder. Down on deck people were screaming, not in fear but in anger. Slowly, Nora walked to the edge of the upper deck, looking down at a big pile of pirates rolling around, punching each other left and right. Staring at them, Nora wondered what ever it was that caused men like these to go so wild. To be so violent and willing to hurt others. Looking down, she found James in the middle of it, grabbing men by their necks and throwing them down on the floor. Quickly looking at the rodder, Nora saw a strong rope tied at one of the knobs, holding it steady as its captain were busy breaking up the fight between his men. Watching James take on man after man, fear crept up her spine. In some way, Nora had found James to be the safest person there, the one person who was a little bit more stable than the rest. But watching him now, throwing punches and roaring out one foul word after and other, she was absolutely terrified of him. Slowly the fight stopped and the crew walked their separate ways, muttering and drying blood of their faces. Unable to move, Nora continued to stare in horror. She wanted to run away and hide, to be rid of all these brutes, but her feet wouldn't move and her body wouldn't respond. Etched in her mind were pictures of bloody men, gashes and painful grunts. But the strongest picture of all were the one of James. With his hair blowing in the evening wind, his eyes two icy fires of fury. Somehow that terrified her the most. Seeing him so wild and relentless. He was no longer safe. Even though he saved her from Belmore, any lingering piece of safety had gone away with the wind.

Heavy footsteps on the stairs to the upper deck made Nora turn her head. She watched and James came into view, one hand rubbing his jaw. He didn't look very bothered at all, despite just being in a fight. Perhaps Nora was bothered enough for both of them.

"Fucking idiots", James muttered as he walked towards the rodder. Quickly, Nora found her feet again and backed away as he approached, her eyes fixated on the crimson blood spatter all over his white shirt. Some had even made it into his face, though she doubted that any of it were his. With the dark beginning to set in, he looked like the killer he was.

"Can't ever trust them to behave, you know?" James said as gave Nora a faint smile. The smile faded however as he saw Nora's face. Pale with horror she stared at him, hoping that his violent ways wouldn't take its toll on her. Taking one step towards her, James put his hands in the air, as if he was calming down a scared animal.

"Easy, love. No one's gonna hurt you." Nora couldn't take her eyes away from the blood on him, and for every step James took forward, she countered with one backwards until her back hit the rail at the edge of the ship. With no where to go, Nora pressed herself against the rail, not daring to close her eyes, but not wanting to look at him either.

"Please, don't", she whispered, desperate for James not to touch her. Thankfully, James stopped a few feet away, still with his hands slightly raised in a calming gesture. He studied her for a few seconds, a frown growing bigger and bigger on his face. It was apparent that he tried to make her feel less scared. But seeing what he was capable of doing with those hands, their calming gesture wasn't calm at all. And even though he seemed to be relaxed and not angry at all, Nora didn't trust him. All she waited for was for him to flip a switch and become the man she had seen on main deck, the skilled monster that took down men like they were all flies.

"Guinevere", James said slowly, causing Nora to frown until she remembered who she was supposed to be. "Trust me when I say no one will hurt you. You have my word on that." Nora snorted and pressed harder against the rail.

"I don't trust the word of a pirate." Her voice was shaky, and she hated it. She wanted to be strong, fierce and powerful. But all she seemed to be was weak and scared. James looked at her with eyes full of concern, but she didn't trust him to show any true emotion whatsoever. He was a pirate, a killer and a thief. And there were no honour amongst thieves.

"Belmore!", James suddenly yelled loudly with a booming voice. "Get over here and take the bloody rodder." Without taking his eyes off Nora, he waited for Belmore to answer. And soon enough footsteps were heard and the big frame belonging to Belmore appeared from the stairs. Without a word, he grabbed the rodder. Taking a swift look at him, Belmore seemed to have received some punches as well - a fact that gave Nora some happiness. She hoped it would get infected.

"Come on", James said and extended his hand to her. "Lets get you below deck before you pass out or break my rail." Nora gaped at him. Did he honestly expect her to follow him below deck? Was he absolutely mad? She opened her mouth to speak, but a rumbling sound of the crew talking made her remember what waited for her above deck. And suddenly, the safety of the cabin didn't seem so bad, even if it were with James. One pirate was better than twenty.

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