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Author Topic: The Question of Faith (BustyGermanGirl & studpuppy22)  (Read 418 times)

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Offline The LionessTopic starter

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The Question of Faith (BustyGermanGirl & studpuppy22)
« on: April 29, 2013, 12:26:46 PM »
The flames reflected in the young woman’s eyes as she gazed off silently into the distance. A crowd was gathering in front of the burning building. What had been promised to be a silent night was awake with sounds of fire and panic. Cassandra Isaac sat on her horse some distance away from the burning house, on the edge of the forest. The hill on which the forest started overlooked the city of Port Royal and she could see everything from up here.

Her black stallion was standing patiently and looking straight ahead. The horse had been hers for the past two years. She had taken him while escaping from a scene of a crime. Of course she never returned him, and the horse had become hers. She never really gave him a name, for he didn't respond to any names. She had figured that he would only respond to the name he was originally given, to which she was currently unsure of.

Cassandra’s long, black hair cascaded down her back in waves, lifting slightly from time to time in the breeze. Her dark blue eyes seemed to have been holding the dark secrets of her past. With the reflection of the flames in them, they had seemed more mysterious than ever. In the moonlight, they would seem to almost give off a faint glow, adding depth to them and illuminating her fair features.

Cassandra looked over to her sister, Charlotte, who was watching the flames in shock. Charlotte was sitting on top of her own horse, her gaze locked on the remains of the burning house. Her horse was gray in color and was slightly smaller than Cassandra’s. He too had been taken in an escape. The same time that Cassandra stole her horse in fact, but unlike Cassandra’s horse, Charlotte had named her stallion. Now he responded to the name ‘Shadow’.

Charlotte's shoulder-length brown hair was pulled back in a ribbon. A few loose locks of hair fell down around her face and the light breeze was eagerly playing with them. Her emerald eyes did not hold as much darkness as her sister’s, though not much happiness could be seen either. She had grown up around crime and didn't know any other way of life. but it didn't change the fact that every time she was involved in a robbery she wished that there could be some other way.

Out of all the crimes that the two sisters had committed over the years, this had been the worst. And neither of them saw it coming. It was unintentional. But they had done it. Cassandra had no choice but to kill that woman. The woman almost killed Charlotte after all. There was no other choice. Cassandra had to protect her sister and it got out of hand. Both of the sisters escaped from the house safely in the end. And no one suspected them. No one could suspect them. They had not been seen near the house by anyone who still lived...or at least such were their hopes.

Charlotte, being only 19, was two years younger than her sister. She had spent a good part of her life depending on thievery for survival with her sister. But even after all they've been through she could not accept the fact that somebody had to die in order for them to be able to escape. That woman had been so young…around Cassandra’s age. Charlotte would never forget the look in her eyes at the last moments of her life. She did not deserve to die. She had simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But despite all that, Charlotte knew that she could always depend on her sister to take care of her. Ever since their parents’ death, Cassandra had become something of a mother for her. She made sure that they always had food and water and she kept both of them safe and protected. Even if it meant that they had to lead a life of robbery and travel.

“Come,” Cassandra said quietly. “Before someone takes notice of our presence.” They had what they had come for and she didn't want to think of what the cost of it had been. She needed to stay strong for her sister’s sake. She had never shown any weakness around anyone and she wasn't going to start now. No matter what the situation was.

Charlotte tore her eyes away from the flames. She looked up at her sister. “I wonder who she was. What she was like. Did she really deserve to die like that?” she questioned thoughtfully.

Cassandra said nothing on the matter. She simply turned her horse around and said, “Come. We have to go,” before setting off into the forest. They would hide out for a while in the forest or somewhere in the town until the heat dies down. Then they would take the money that they had acquired and buy a boat so they could get out of Port James. There were other places where they needed to go to be able to survive.

Charlotte followed close behind her sister, glancing back one last time before she disappeared into the cover of the trees. Shadows surrounded her and no one would find them in here. Not until the sun came up, and she knew no one would come looking in the forest.

Offline studpuppy22

Re: The Question of Faith (BustyGermanGirl & studpuppy22)
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2013, 10:24:55 AM »
James was a skinny boy standing five foot ten in stature with long curly brown hair. His hair along with mostly everything about his presence is messy. His family house lies just outside of a small town and just over the river from Port Royal. He grew up in a large family with 7 other siblings and was always getting into mischief, since not many people noticed when he would sneak out. Being the youngest in the family had it perks. James was always getting into trouble with the neighboring town getting into fights and vandalizing people’s property. James usually got out of trouble and rarely found himself seeing the consequence of his actions, but that was not always the case. When James was 13 he lost the pinky finger on his right hand in a gruesome accident while playing with a chainsaw in his backyard and to this day he always wears a glove on his right hand when he is in public.

James is now 22 years old but you would not be able to tell by speaking to him.  His young face and childish attitude could alter a person’s perception of him within seconds. This is probably the reason why he has always been able to get away with his mischievous acts. Now a days, James spends most of him time wandering around the nearby forests because he doesn’t find the “city” life interesting anymore. He is a proficient marksman and has always been handy with a knife.  James has even picked up the hobby as a weapon smith although many of his creations have come from the wilderness.

James was never really fond of big crowds or even holding a conversation for to long. For much of his life he lived secluded from the rest of the world except for the few hours he would come home every night to eat supper and sleep in the small house his grand parents had first built many years ago. James would wander off during the day finding himself on the shore lines watching as the waves rolled along the sea line or in the forests surrounding the neighboring ports always finding something to do. James never got bored of the overgrown trees and what lied within them.
_
As James was wondering around the forest, during what seemed like just another quiet night he noticed a commotion of noise and flashes coming from the Far East side of the forest. He soon became interested; maybe the pirates are back, he thought to himself. Pirates had always fascinated James. Their grimy appearance, and fearless attitude caused James to feel like he belonged. As, he ran closer to the edge of the forest where the layer of trees ended and grasslands began he began to realize that a house had caught fire and was burning to the ground. The fire was so fierce that he was able to feel the intense heat even before reaching the last line of trees. 

James knelt down behind one of the wider trees and watched as the fire engulfed the entire house until it was nothing but rubble. As he sat there watching he began to realize there was no one around to be seen, especially not fleets of angry pirates hauling their new treasure back to the ship. As he began to think, maybe the pirates have already jumped ship; about to sprint towards the shoreline he noticed something.  The moon reflected off the top of the hill where he caught a glimpse of what looked like two horses, but as soon as he took a second look they had vanished into thin air. Not even giving it a second thought he began to dart for the shoreline.  By the time he had reached the shore it was already very late and was getting closer to dusk. James looked out into the distance to see nothing other than the calm ripples of the night and the moon glistening along the water for as far as he could see.  James sat down in the cold sand as the moon started to fall away and the sun began to creep up out of the ocean and before he even knew it James had fallen asleep.
 

Offline The LionessTopic starter

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Re: The Question of Faith (BustyGermanGirl & studpuppy22)
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2013, 04:07:02 PM »
Cassandra and Charlotte spent as little time as they could in the town. They went there only when it was needed, like for food or water. Otherwise, they spent their time in the forest. They both didn't like the seclusion of being in the forest, but they really had no choice. Neither of them wanted to raise any suspicion, so they waited a month until they knew that the rumor of the burning of the Governor's manor had begun dying down.

“Have you been up all night?” Cassandra asked as she sat up on their last night in the forest. She had just woken up to find Charlotte sitting quietly by the fire they had made the night before.

Charlotte couldn't sleep that night. All she did was watch the flames, remembering what they had done a month ago. She couldn't help but think of that poor girl that had to die in the fire. The memory of it haunted her dreams every night. She had a feeling as if someone had seen what they had done…And what if someone did? Her thoughts were reeling in her mind. They had to get out of Port Royal as soon as they could.

“It is all behind us” Cassandra said. She knew what her sister was thinking about. She knew that Charlotte had been affected greatly by the death of that young girl in the manor. “We need to go into town today. We need to get supplies and food. After that, we will be able to finally get a boat and leave this dreaded place. No one would ever know.”

“But we would! That is the whole point! I can’t deal with the pressure and guilt of knowing the things that were done. I pray to God that once we get out of here, we would have things to keep us from ever thinking of it again.”

“I know how you are feeling, and I truly understand. However, we need to put this all behind us. If we don’t, than who knows what our hearts might make us do.” Cassandra watched her sister for a few moments. She couldn't take it any longer, seeing the tears in her little sister’s eyes made her feel even worse. She knew how Charlotte must have felt. She was feeling the same way too, but she just didn't show it. Over the years of growing up without parents, Cassandra had learned that letting such emotions control her train of thought never lead to anything good.

“We have some food left, so if you want to grab a quick breakfast before we go…” Charlotte said, changing the subject after a moment of silence. “But we are going to have to get more before we get a boat."

Cassandra nodded, taking some bread that Charlotte had pulled out of her knapsack. “We can buy some food and water,” she said, “It shouldn't take too long.”
“But we don’t have enough money for food and a boat.” Charlotte replied.

“We could strike the dock master an offer he couldn't refuse,” Cassandra suggested, “Maybe if we buy some food, leaving us still with more money than we offered last time, maybe the dock master would take it. If he doesn't, then we offer our horses.”

Cassandra reassured Charlotte that they would find a way somehow while she ate. Their conversation was brought to an end finally when the sun was shining brightly in the sky. They had decided to buy some food and water in Port Royal. They didn't want anyone suspecting them of committing any crimes. Even at this point, questions may arise if they were to steal something.

Packing up their supplies, the sisters finally headed out to the edge of the forest where the city of Port Royal stood. It took them a good part of the morning to get the food and water, along with the supplies. Both necessities were on opposite ends of the town. Every once in a while, Cassandra had to reassure Charlotte that everything would be alright. The younger sister still felt terrible about the burning of the Governor's manor.

The morning went by uneventful. No one as much as spared them a second glance as they walked down the street. This suited both Cassandra and Charlotte just fine.
Finally, once the sisters obtained their supplies, they went to the docks to seek out the stubborn dock master from whom they were planning to buy the boat from. Charlotte remembered how her sister had suggested stealing the boat when they were refused before. Charlotte, however, disagreed. They had depended on thievery for everything in their lives. Charlotte wanted to try to drift away from doing the wrong, to do the right. Cassandra, seeing that her sister did not wish to steal the boat, suggested staying in Port Royal for a while to try to get money from somewhere. They had eventually ended up stealing the money anyway. Because of this, they had to lay low for the last month. Too bad they never knew that the house that burned down belonged to the governor. Not until much later...

Coming upon the dock master’s station, Charlotte was desperately hoping they wouldn't raise suspicion with the dock master. The things they had done haunted her conscience. Charlotte hoped that she could be as brave and strong as her sister. She could compose herself better than she could. Being tender-hearted was a burden, but Charlotte could not shut off a certain thought when she wanted to hide her emotions better.

Offline studpuppy22

Re: The Question of Faith (BustyGermanGirl & studpuppy22)
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2013, 06:29:57 PM »
James had awakened many hours later to the sound of people scrambling around. As he sat up brushing the sand from every crevice it had found its way into during his sleep, he watched as some merchant ships came into dock at the port. This was not anything unusual in Port Royal as imports and exports were come by all the time.

 Once James began to stand up and walk back home he though about what had happened the night before. Questioning how it was possible that no one left the land that night. As he scrambled through the woods back home he was struck with the idea ‘maybe the men who had burnt down the house did not leave because they are still here.’ James had stopped in his tracks at the thought of this possibility.  “Pirates” he yelled, but again went on his way. Although he didn’t really believe it to be true, James began to pay a little more attention during his walk back home.

James reached the front steps of his small house and before he could even take one more step his mother ran out crying. “Oh god, you’re alive,” his mother cried out. “We thought for sure you were dead after we heard about what happened to that house. Where were you? What were you doing all night? Why didn’t you come home?” James was not paying any attention to his mother; all he could think about was the fact that he didn’t see anyone leave. “James, James, James!” His mother yelled, “Are you listening to me?” “I’m fine mom,” James replied as he walked past her and lay down in his bed. James lay there in his bed for 4 hours before falling back asleep.

The rest of the month had gone by like any other and the talk of the town had changed from that dreadful night to the usual nonsense in which James wanted no part of. James had found himself doing a lot less playing in the woods. Instead he would walk aimlessly around town and the shoreline just hoping to find anything out of the ordinary. When James wasn't searching he was practicing his skills with a gun and had started to pick up a sword every so often.

It wasn't more than a month after the incident that James had noticed two girls not much younger then him. He watched as they walked along the road towards some of the merchants and then back. He did not think much of it, but knew that he had not seen them around in the past month. Since James was not really much of a social person he just expected that they hadn't been around much especially because most faces were new when he first started to keep watch. James was confused by a lot of things, but one thing was for sure. James knew that there were no pirates to be seen anywhere.

A few gloomy days had passed before James gave up on his quest and went back to his usual routine. He began spending more time in the woods and less time in the town, but for some reason he would still go to the beach and walk along the shoreline every few days. Maybe he was looking for a sign or maybe he was just hoping that one-day he could join a pirate crew and sail the seas.

Offline The LionessTopic starter

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Re: The Question of Faith (BustyGermanGirl & studpuppy22)
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2013, 10:32:10 PM »
“I’m sorry. But that is simply not enough money. The boat is worth more than that.”

“It is all that we have. And more than we offered the last time.”

“It is not enough,” the man repeated stubbornly.

Cassandra was getting irritated. This man was denying them the boat for the second time in a row. She could tell that Charlotte was getting restless and the tensions were growing between them by the second. Without noticing it, her hand had tightened on the hilt of her sword.

“Since the money is not enough,” Charlotte stepped in, “how about we offer you our horses and the money in trade for the boat?” When the dock master remained silent, eyeing her, she continued. “The horses would be worth a good price at the market. They are fast, strong and in very good health.” She was trying to persuade him before her sister got out of hand.

At this, the dock master lifted his head a little, seeming more interested in the offer. “What would two young women such as yourselves want to do, sailing off into the dangerous waters?” There was suspicion in his tone of voice. “You’re not from around here, are you?”

“The fact that we are women should not affect what we can and cannot do,” Cassandra said simply. “All we are interested in is the boat. There is no rule that states that a woman cannot control a boat.”

“What is your business in sailing off? Why is this so important to you? Very seldom do people offer up such a great price for one boat,” the dock master said.

“Indeed. And very seldom does a dock master question other people’s business. I do believe it is not in your job description. Our business is our own and I would appreciate it if you keep your nose out of it,” Cassandra replied, her temper rising.

The dock master eyed Cassandra and Charlotte with suspicion. He leaned down to his apprentice, who was standing beside him quietly, and whispered something in his ear. The boy nodded and ran off out of sight. The dock master straitened up and looked to the two sisters with a smug look on his face.

Cassandra didn't let up her grip on the hilt of her sword. She knew he was up to something. On her right, Charlotte shifted a little, looking from her sister to the dock master and back again. “So how about it?” Cassandra said. “The money and our horses in exchange for the boat.”

The dock master looked around. “Just one moment,” he said. He seemed amused by something but it was difficult to figure out just what it was. Cassandra was about to speak when the dock master’s apprentice came trotting into view. Behind him were two guards. One of the guards was portly. He looked to be the moronic one of the two. He seemed to follow in the other one’s footsteps somewhat, and was looking to the two sisters with a confused look on his face. The other guard, thinner than the first, looked as if he had something smelly underneath his nose. He seemed to be boss of the other, yet stupid in his own way. He glanced over at his partner as they came into view before turning to the sisters on the dock. The dock master looked at the two sisters with a satisfied look as his apprentice approached with the guards right behind him. He looked to the guards before turning to Cassandra. “Now perhaps you would like to tell me, what is your business in sailing off into the dangerous waters all on your own?”

Again, Cassandra repeated that it was none of his business. She could see that the two guards were starting to catch on to the situation and were shifting a little. They were watching her intently and it did not help the situation one bit.

Charlotte looked to her sister. She was starting to get a little scared of what Cassandra might do. She knew very well that when her sister felt cornered, she was capable of doing anything, and would not think twice before unsheathing her sword on the two guards and the dock master.

Cassandra didn't move from her position and stood her ground. The dock master shifted a little and sighed. “Alright, are you going to tell us, or should I ask you? Are you two pirates?” his voice was rising somewhat. He was as stubborn as a mule.

At this, the two guards exchanged glances before looking expectantly at the sisters. Charlotte had realized that the very thing that she didn't want to happen was happening...and she was starting to doubt that she and Cassandra would get out of this.

Cassandra knew that this wasn't going to get them anywhere. Whether she admitted to being a pirate or not, it would end the same way. She was aware of the fact that she had to loosen her grip on her sword, but her anger wouldn't let her. “We are not pirates,” she said, not taking her eyes off of the dock master. She did not like lying, but she had to. There was no other way.

“With all due respect, miss. I was not born yesterday. Now, I am going to ask you one more time, and this time I would like an honest answer. Are you two pirates or are you not?” the dock master demanded his voice more harsh than before.

“You can ask that question a hundred times and the answer is going to remain the same,” Charlotte stepped in. She was getting into her defensive mode as well. “Whether you believe us or not, the answer will not change.”

“I don’t believe you,” the dock master said with suspicion.

Offline studpuppy22

Re: The Question of Faith (BustyGermanGirl & studpuppy22)
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2013, 12:10:56 AM »
The days between James going to the ocean got further apart. James began to even doubt any pirates would show up, especially with the vigorous army that protected Port Royale.

It was one of the days that James had decided to wander out of the forest and onto the beach. The sun was beating down upon the water producing a glare that almost made it uncomfortable to the eye. James had rarely walked the entire length of the shoreline to the docks, but he decided it would be nice to watch the horizon from a shadier spot. When James reached the dock he took a seat almost slipping under the dock. He could hear people talking but did not pay any notice.

All of a sudden he heard a female voice yelling sternly and his attention took a full three hundred and sixty degrees. He began to listen in on the conversation, but it wasn’t until he heard the dock master say the word “Pirate” that he became fully aware. James sprung up with intense force to see where the commotion was coming from. He saw two girls being harassed by a group of men.

James immediately jumped onto the dock standing up to the dock master and group of guards. “What’s going on here,” James says forcefully. “Get out of here, this is none of your business,” One of the guards replies. James’ eyes switch from the group of men to the girls and back to the men. “I believe this is my business,” James replies as he walks up between the two girls placing his right hand on his hip feeling for his black-powder pistol. James had heard just enough of the conversation to make sense of things. “You have no right to wrongly accuse these two women of anything. They are close friends to my family and will be sailing with us in the upcoming months.” The dock master stared furiously at James looking for any slight flinch that he could call James’ bluff.

Although James was not much of a talker, he felt fairly comfortable during this interrogating conversation. James looks to the girls and back at the dock master saying, “Well, are you going to take them majestic horses over there or are we going to have another problem.”

Offline The LionessTopic starter

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Re: The Question of Faith (BustyGermanGirl & studpuppy22)
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2013, 09:05:22 PM »
Cassandra  was downright heated at the argument with the dock master, but to have armed guards involved made her even more upset. She looked at Charlotte beside her. She could see in her eyes that she was frightened, now that the guards were involved. Her hot-headed temper was rising, and it only created more of a risk arguing than it was to risk their lives on the open sea.

"Just because we are women who don't wear proper dress doesn't mean that we are pirates," She heard Charlotte chime in. Charlotte tried to not sound frightened, but instead sounded more meek and defeated.

"I think that the man is playing us for being coy," Cassandra replied to her younger sister, "He's just being a discriminatory bigot." Tempers were raised even higher then, but Cassandra couldn't help it. The talk of pirates and threats did not sit well with her, nor her sister.

If it wasn't for the man that had jumped into the conversation, they would probably be hanging from the gallows. He was young, but probably only a few years older than Cassandra, and keen on protecting them from ill-fate. The dock master was not happy, but to have a male presence on their side seemed to make him stop in his tracks. He took the two glossy horses by the reins and led them to the grass and tied them to a wooden post.

Charlotte looked from the mysterious man, to the dock master, and then gave Cassandra a puzzled look. What now? she thought.

Offline studpuppy22

Re: The Question of Faith (BustyGermanGirl & studpuppy22)
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2013, 10:05:02 PM »
To everyone's surprise the dock master had stood down only moments after James had come into the conversation. The dock master came back after tying off the horses. "I'm sorry sir, they had been acting fairly suspicious and it is part of my job to look out for anyone who might be looking to harm the fine people of Port Royal." "I don't want to see you bothering these kind ladies again!" James replied.

The dock master put his hand out not answering James. "These ladies have just purchased a new boat." *Pointing to a smaller boat towards the end of the dock.*

This had really excited the girls. Only moments before they were looking the grim reaper in the eye and now they were looking at freedom. Although they felt comfortable, in the back of Cassandra's mind she questioned James' motives. Why was he helping them? He didn't even know who they were.

James stood tall and proud. This was the first time he had stood up to someone and the outcome had gone even better then he had imagined. James reached his hand out meeting the dock masters firmly shaking hands with a firm and confident grip.

"You ladies better not give me any reason to have you thrown in jail because if you do it will be your life." The dock master sternly spoke out. The dock master still didn't trust them but at this point he had no choice but to let them go.

James turned to the two ladies. "Ready ladies, come with me and I will dock you boat over at my family dock on the other side of Port."

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Re: The Question of Faith (BustyGermanGirl & studpuppy22)
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2013, 06:12:08 PM »
Cassandra looked at the dock master as if to shoot daggers from her eyes. She was seeing red, but knew she had to set an example, and play along. Glancing back at Charlotte, she gave her a look as if to say to do the same. The dock master seemed most displeased at what had happened. And the displeasure deepened as the head of the guard announced that there was no further need for them there. The two guards walked off, leaving the sisters with James and the dock master for the moment.

Charlotte nodded and followed her sister to the small dingy of a boat. For what they had paid and traded, the dingy was only going to get them so far. She glanced behind her at the stranger that had saved them. Charlotte couldn't help but worry about Cassandra. She knew that her sister had a temper, and sometimes did things before even thinking. She didn't know what Cassandra could have been thinking at the moment. She couldn't even fathom how they would be able to get out of this mess if the stranger ever found out their secret. Her mind was racing and she had no idea what was going to come of this. She still didn't know if going on with him was a good idea, but it felt right to her.

Cassandra didn't say anything. She looked out to the water that was glimmering brightly in the sun. “I guess that we have another day to spend in Port Royal after all. Best if we don’t raise any more suspicions.”

Offline studpuppy22

Re: The Question of Faith (BustyGermanGirl & studpuppy22)
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2013, 10:59:41 AM »
The boat was quite small. It was a tight fit for James and the two girls, but they all got aboard and set off away from the dock master and the port. James was fairly familiar with how to drive a boat. His parents also owned their own boat that was a little bigger then the one they were in. His parents used it mainly for work, driving it to neighboring islands. When James was younger, his father would occasionally take him to work. His father planned for James to help with the family blacksmith business when he grew up. On the other hand, James had a different plan for himself. He was eager to sail the seas to become one of the most feared pirates alive. James knew he would not be able to conquer this on his own, but he also was cautious about who he spoke to.

"Just letting you know, the dock is about a mile from here."

James took most of the time getting into the boat and during the drive to think to himself. He began to realize what he had done. He risked his life for two girls he knew nothing about and without even questioning their motives. It was possible he had hoped they were pirates. If he was right, he wanted them to graciously thank him for saving their lives and in return ask him to join their crew. He hadn't heard to many stories about female pirates, but nothing mattered because if the dock master was suspicious of them there must have been a reason.

Being alone in a boat with two "pirates" didn't scare James. He trusted them.

"So, why were you two so eager to sell those horses for a boat? Are you planning on leaving Port Royal for good?" James began to question the sisters excited to hear their answers. He wasn't positive they were sisters, but he suspected it because they had similar facial features. Now that they were away from the guard and dock master, James hoped the girls would speak more freely.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 11:00:57 AM by studpuppy22 »

Offline The LionessTopic starter

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Re: The Question of Faith (BustyGermanGirl & studpuppy22)
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2013, 02:59:03 AM »
Climbing into the boat, the the stranger helped drive the boat into the water. Tension was thick between the three, even with the dock master and guards out of their hair. Cassandra didn't trust anyone but her sister, but with the need to protect her, she didn't always tell her everything. Her sister was growing up, and it had become harder for her to hide things from her. They had been tied to the hip for so long, that maybe her body language was beginning to fail her.

The stranger eyed them carefully. He was awfully nice, but could they really trust him? They just wanted a chance to live a better life, but even the price for the small boat had cost more than they had previously thought.

Charlotte watched the stranger with both caution and interest. She studied him and his movements as he helped them sail around the quay. His large hands looked strong and calloused and had dirt and soot clinging to them. He was a hard person to place with any of the wealthy families in town. They knew all the wealthy families to hit for gold when they needed some, and he wasn't a part of them.

"We appreciate you helping us back there," Cassandra started, "but it is none of your business what we are doing."

Charlotte gave her sister an icy stare, "What she means is," She interrupted, "Is that we want no trouble, we just want to be on our way." She paused a moment and brushed some loose strands of hair from her face. Her green eyes looked in his directly as if to put more force in her words, "But why did you help us back there? We don't even know you."