X Marks the Spot/C4 Chapter 1-4
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X Marks the Spot/C4 Chapter 1-4
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C4 Chapter 1-4

Diane placed her palm against the chilled glass window, the heat from her hand breaking through the fog of a life now passed. Three years since word reached her ear. Three long years since he was taken from her.

Sails of blue upon red fluttering against the calm breeze caught her gaze. Her fingers tensed and her brow furrowed with each wave the cloth made against the horizon. No. Not three. It’s been far longer than that. The sea may hold her love in her icy grip, but she is not the cruel mistress whom robbed him of her.

She remembered every second of that fateful day: the hustle and bustle of rambunctious dockworkers unloading their haul; the stark stench of putrid seaweed and the sour taste of salt that filled the air; the way the blazing heat of the midsummer sun scorched the top of the churning waves, leaving an ominous emerald glow atop the horizon. But more importantly, she remembered his face, bristling with excitement for the looming adventure that lay before him.

“They’ll have the pirate threat taken care of in no time,” he had said, brimming with pride. “They only need to make examples of those that lead them and the rest will crumble. Once the head of the serpent is severed, the body will wither.”

“And where is this coming from? Why the sudden passion for politics?”

“I don’t know what you speak of,” Edward said with a grumble, shoving his hands in his pockets and kicking the shells from under his feet with each step.

“You have never spoken of the need to quell piracy in the past,” Diane chuckled, grasping Edward’s arm and pulling him in step with her jolly gait. “Not once have you ever sprouted on about the ‘scourge’ of piracy.”

“They are a scourge,” Edward protested, stopping in his tracks and swinging Diane around to face him. “They are a blight against civility as well as the crown.”

“A blight against civility?” Diane laughed. “If anything, you have been nothing but jealous of them since the moment your ears caught wind of the tales of their exploits.”

“Jealous? How dare you accuse me of siding with those villainous traitors!”

“Admit it, Edward. Seafaring men pillaging the seas in a grand hunt for treasure. Your mouth waters at the mere thought of the adventures that befall them. You and I both know that you would jump at any chance remotely close to that.”

“An itch for adventure hardly puts one in leagues with pirates.”

“Does it?” Diane spun on her heels, pulling her love to follow. “In either case, that still does not answer why you have grown so fascinated with the politics of it all. What’s it to you of the matters of such things?”

“They are vile men who deserve nothing but swift justice.”

“And what justice would that be?” Diane asked, looking over her shoulder.

“A short drop with a sudden stop.”

The bitter words forced Diane to stop. Her smile faded, replaced with a contemplative scowl. “What a vile thing to say.”

“Vile? Or noble?”

“Vile,” Diane reiterated, unlatching her arm from his and replacing it with the pair atop her waist.

“I disagree,” Edward spat, avoiding her disapproving glare and turning his attention to the sea. “I believe it to be noble. Quite noble, in fact. What man of honor wouldn’t agree with that which aligns to the needs of the crown?”

“Aligns with the crown?” Diane’s posture slumped, her hands sliding down her waist and falling to her sides. She cocked her head to the side, her eyes carefully studying her love as her thoughts scrambled to make sense of what he had said. “Where are you?”

“Where am I?” Edward turned, looking at Diane, his face blank from expression.

“Where are you?” Diane repeated, her gaze softening. “Death to pirates? Aligning with the crown? This isn’t you, Edward! Not the man I know. Where is the man aspiring to see the world? The simple man who didn’t get involved with the pompous rhetoric of politics? Where is the man I love?”

Edward’s shoulders sagged, his chin falling to his chest. He shuffled his feet between thoughts while his cheeks burned to a vermillion hue. “There is more than one way to see the world.”

“Aye.” Diane’s brow arched. “I suppose so. What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I enlisted, Diane,” Edward replied, lifting his gaze to meet hers. “I signed the papers this morning.”

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