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White Light on a Black Sea

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It sounded like thunder for the briefest moment, until the first blast hit the Ivory Swan. Bolting out of bed, the Princess Emma looked out her window, seeing only the dreary grey sky of the early morning, a slight drizzle peppering the sea as it stretched out in front of her. Running to the door, foregoing in her haste anything more than the clothes she wore to bed, she opened the door to her luxurious cabin only to be met by her panicked maidservant Angela. She could hear shouting on deck, and more cannon-fire as the Swan answered her attackers' aggression with its own.

"Your highness! You need to stay inside and bar the door!" Terror colored the older woman's voice as she pushed her charge backwards. "We've been set upon by pirates!"

The Princess hastily nodded and shut the door, sliding the lock in place and pushing a small chest in front of it before retreating back to the window. Fear gripped her as the deafening noise intensified and the ship pitched violently as the approaching vessel came round to port and she got her first view of her attackers. The pirates' ship was modest in size, but faster than any ship she'd seen, slipping around the larger Swan as if it were standing still. The crimson flag flapping proudly from the main mast confirmed Angela's claims, and the gravity of the situation gripped the princess with a start.

She would not be making it to her wedding to Prince Neal without incident. She would be lucky to make it anywhere at all.

Emma went to grab her sword, determined to defend herself, but she was unaccustomed to fighting at sea and when the ship listed suddenly as their attackers tossed grappling lines and began to board, she stumbled back towards the bed, her head hitting the wooden wall hard. As she felt herself slipping into unconsciousness, all she could pray was: don't let them find me. Don't let them hurt me.

The world went dark.

Her door burst open.