=Eight years old=
Mariana cried feeling the stinging of the cat tails on her exposed back as her master gave her twenty lashings simply for dropping his dinner on accident. She could hear her mother's cries in the corner, knowing it must pain her to see her daughter be punished in such a horrid way for something so petty. She was shaking by the time he was done and curled into a ball, crying into her mother's chest as she held her close.
"Sh...don't cry my little bird," Alika whispered while stroking back her daughter's dark hair. "Hopefully tonight will be the night your father comes and rescues us from this hell."
Mari sniffled and nodded. She had never met her father although she had his surname and she has heard great stories of him. Of course she did not know how much she could trust a story but she trusted her mother. She looked down as one of the elder slaves cleaned her lashings with a damp cloth and she had to hold back her cries from the pain on her back.
She looked up, frightened, when she saw the door crack open before a whisper came out, calling out for her mother. She furrowed her brows as she watched Alika embrace the man before she was tugged up.
"Mariana, this is your father," Alika introduced smiling softly.
"Matthias James," He introduced himself and bent down so he was at her level. "You are beautiful just like your mother," He breathed and smiled kissing the top of her head, slowly standing up. "I can't guarantee all of you will make it out alive, but if you follow me and do make it, then you will no longer be a slave, but a free man and a free woman."
Mariana looked around as the people she have became close with, listened to the man and they all began to run out. She held tight onto her mother's hand, trying her best to tune out the sound of gunshots that followed them all the way to the docks. She was the first one and glanced around before she began to laugh happily. For the first time in her life, she felt something that she thought she would have never felt and that was freedom.
=Sixteen years old=
Mariana smiled happily as she helped distribute out lunch for the crew members, glancing towards the wheel where her father was with her mother by his side. It has been eight years since they came together as a family and she honestly could not ask for better.
She looked down when the floorboards began to shake and furrowed her brows before looking up gasping when she saw a ship aiming towards them. Mari grabbed a hold of the railing, only to fall on the ground when they were rammed. She closed her eyes while trying to get up although she was pinned between two of their cannons. Mariana looked to her father, watching him fight and protecting his love, admiring the man for his bravery.
These men that were slaughtering the crew one by one were slave hunters and they needed more women to have around for entertainment and more men for work. She cried when one picked her up, a scream leaving her lips when she saw the captain murder both her mother and father right in front of her eyes. Mariana stepped on the man's foot loosening his grasp before punching him in the jaw and pushing him backwards, falling into the ocean.
She looked up when the captain only laughed at her actions and she felt something inside of her, anger and revenge. She picked up her father's bloody sword and stabbed the man in the heart as he was about to strike her. Mari blew out a breath watching the man fall before her golden eyes lifted furrowing her brows when she saw the remaining crew get on their knees for her.
Jessiah, Matthias' loyal navigator slowly walked over to her and smiled lightly. "Mariana James, you have been promoted to captain of The Weeping Siren," He stated and the crew erupted in cheers.
=One year later=
Mariana laughed and smiled as her crew danced to the tune of a lute. She noticed everyone was having a merry time although there was one sailor in particular that was away from everyone. She slowly walked over and sat next to him, smiling softly.
"Why do you seem so down, Mister Turner?"
Henry looked over when he saw the captain sit next to him and he gave her a smile, shrugging a bit. "I never really join the festivities upon a ship. Besides, people don't really like me."
Mari giggled a bit as she stood up and took his hand, making him stand up with her. "Well, I like you," She stated with a soft smile as she began to clap to the beat, smiling up at the boy when he began to do the same.
When the music was over and the crew went to bed, it was just her and Henry. She smiled softly as she stared up at the starry sky before looking over to the boy next to her, noticing a saddened look upon his face. She couldn't help but be concerned for him.
"Is everything alright Henry?"
He frowned a bit while turning his head away from the captain and closed his eyes. "I need to leave when we make dock."
"Why?" She asked with furrowed brows as she masked the hurt tone in her voice.
"I need to continue on my journey to find the trident of Poseidon."
Mariana sighed and slowly nodded. She stared into his dark eyes while placing a hand on his cheek. "Let me give you a goodbye present then," She whispered and leaned up, kissing his lips gently. She couldn't help the smile that filled her features when she felt him kiss back.